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South Florida Teen Creates Book Club to Read Books Removed by State

As the state of Florida has continues to impose book bans, an increasing number of residents have taken a stand against them.


January 19, 2023

By Vaneti Ceus

Miami- Last year, roughly 300 books were removed from school libraries in Florida, eliciting protests from students and community members. For instance, Iris Mogul, a junior in high school completing a dual enrollment program at Florida International University, created a “Banned Books Club.” She says that in creating the organization, she aimed to create a safe space for people of all ages to come and discuss books. 

This book club allows people to learn more about their community and resist censorship. Nearly two dozen people attended the book club's first event at Books & Books in Coral Gables, Florida. Many patrons agreed that students need access to books that have been banned in order to learn about issues like racism, misogyny, and LGBTQ rights. Mogul said, “I can connect the importance of history and [the need for] young people to pay attention to what’s happened in the past so that it does or doesn’t happen in the future”. South Florida, Broward County has been the only county thus far that has removed books from their shelves after a parent or resident made an objection. Nevertheless, book bans persist across the state, as other counties have removed 673 books from their classrooms and school libraries. 

A majority of book-banning attempts target are on literature that deals with subjects like race and the LGBTQ community. Luckily, other teens are following in Mogul’s footsteps, seeking to have more up-front and honest conversations about literature and talking about the discrimination and oppression that is addressed in these books. Ella Scott and Da'Taeveyon Daniels, two high schoolers from Texas, began a banned book club at their schools when their state started making attempts to challenge and censor stories.

These teens–Mogul, Scott, and Daniels- are using their voices to stand up for what they believe in. They speak out so that the next generation of teens can have access to books that expose them to various perspectives, ideologies, and peoples. Using the freedom of speech, they strive for education to always be encouraged and never stifled.

Deputy Director of the Media Relations Team at Teens for Press Freedom, Aydin Levy, states that “it’s powerful to watch as young generations fight for human rights. Mogul, Scott, and Daniels are setting the stage for how we can resist attempts to censor voices and provide spaces to speak out. Books are key to understanding different perspectives and people. It is critical that everyone has access to them.”

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