Students Fight Banned Books and Win!

To close out Banned Books Week, we’d like to draw your attention to Central York, PA, where the student-led Central York Banned Book Club protested their school board’s banning of more than 200 books and other educational material by or about people of color – and won. We salute those students and their efforts! Read on for more about how this year’s Banned Books Week is different, and which Lerner titles were on the Central York School District’s list.

Karen Jensen from Teen Librarian Toolbox noted that “this Banned Books Week feels different.”

The stakes feel higher. Certain people group’s identities and histories are being challenged, being erased, and I can’t help but think of what kind of emotional impact that has on these kids that just want the world to see them, to hear them, to love them, to keep them safe.

Teen Librarian Toolbox

We couldn’t agree more. Especially when looking at the list of titles banned by Central York, which are comprised of titles by and about people of color. It’s hard to fathom how many of them could be considered objectionable in any way!

Books published by Lerner imprints and publishers Creston and Live Oak Media who are distributed by Lerner which are in the Central York School District list include the following:

Imani’s Moon

From the Series Live Oak Media eReadalong

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 3    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

‘Imani the tiny’ the children tease her, but this young Maasai girl is determined to touch the moon. Her mother shares stories of others who have overcome challenges and managed great accomplishments always reminding Imani that ‘it is only you who must believe.’ This magical tale, with roots in the tradition of the adumu, a cultural jumping dance, is one strong and spirited girl’s thrilling story.

The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth & Harlem’s Greatest Bookstore

  • Interest Level: Grade 2 – Grade 4    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor, ALA Notable Children’s Book, CCBC Best Children’s Book of the Year, Jane Addams Children’s Book Award, Kirkus Best Children’s Books, NCTE Notable

In the 1930s, Lewis’s dad, Lewis Michaux Sr., had an itch he needed to scratch—a book itch. How to scratch it? He started a bookstore in Harlem and named it the National Memorial African Bookstore.

And as far as Lewis Michaux Jr. could tell, his father’s bookstore was one of a kind. People from all over came to visit the store, even famous people—Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, and Langston Hughes, to name a few. In his father’s bookstore people bought and read books, and they also learned from each other. People swapped and traded ideas and talked about how things could change. They came together here all because of his father’s book itch. Read the story of how Lewis Michaux Sr. and his bookstore fostered new ideas and helped people stand up for what they believed in.

Trombone Shorty

From the Series Live Oak Media eReadalong

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 3    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

The stunning story and exquisite illustrations in this Caldecott Honor and Coretta Scott King Award–winning book can now be savored along with Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews reading the words and playing his trumpet in this readalong that will transport readers to New Orleans and beyond!


  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 2    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Big, small, curly, straight, loud, quiet, smooth, wrinkly. Lovely explores a world of differences that all add up to the same thing: we are all lovely!

Ada Byron Lovelace & the Thinking Machine

  • Interest Level: Preschool – Grade 6    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

Ada Lovelace, the daughter of the famous romantic poet, Lord Byron, develops her creativity through science and math. When she meets Charles Babbage, the inventor of the first mechanical computer, Ada understands the machine better than anyone else and writes the world’s first computer program in order to demonstrate its capabilities.

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Poems of Race, Mistakes, and Friendship

  • Interest Level: Grade 3 – Grade 6    
  • Reading Level: Grade 4

Two poets, one white and one black, explore race and childhood in this must-have collection tailored to provoke thought and conversation.

How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don’t know each other . . . and they’re not sure they want to.

Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, use this fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way, exploring such topics as hair, hobbies, and family dinners. Accompanied by artwork from acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage), this remarkable collaboration invites readers of all ages to join the dialogue by putting their own words to their experiences.

Locked Up for Freedom

Civil Rights Protesters at the Leesburg Stockade

  • Interest Level: Grade 5 – Grade 8    
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

In 1963, more than 30 African-American girls ages 11 to 16 were arrested for taking part in Civil Rights protests in Americus, Georgia. They were taken without their families’ knowledge to a Civil War–era stockade in Leesburg, Georgia, where they were confined in unsanitary conditions and exposed to brutal treatment. Over the following weeks, their commitment to the fight for equality was put to the test. Combining historical research and personal interviews with several of the girls, Heather E. Schwartz brings this true story of the Civil Rights Movement to life.

The 5 O’Clock Band

From the Series Live Oak Media eReadalong

  • Interest Level: Kindergarten – Grade 2    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

This companion title to Trombone Shorty—Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Award and Odyssey Honor winner—is a well-tuned, beautiful visual and auditory exploration of a beloved community as Shorty visits the streets of New Orleans to find answers on how to be a leader in his band.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga

From the Series Live Oak Media eReadalong

  • Interest Level: Grade 1 – Grade 2    
  • Reading Level: Grade 2

This authentic, loving celebration of gratitude & community—written by a citizen of the Cherokee nation—follows celebrations and experiences through the seasons of a year, underscoring the traditions and ways of Cherokee life.

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