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  • Writer's pictureEvelyn Soriano

“Girls Who Code” added to the list of Banned Books

The nationwide index of listing banned books has been updated.

Among the banned books list was the middle-grade school book series “Girls Who Code” by Reshma Saujani has fallen on the list alongside classic literature such as “Handmaid’s Tale” and “Of Mice and Men.”

The series follows through as a chronicle of a group of young girls and their adventure as part of their coding club at school. The author Reshma Saujani is a leading activist, author, and founder of the nonprofit organizations' Girls Who Code and the Marshall Plans for Moms. Saujani advocates for women’s and girls’ economic empowerment and for closing the gender gap in the technology sector.

Annually, the index is updated by PEN America, an organization advocating free expression in literature and human rights. This year's list was released at the start of Banned Books Week running from September 18th through September 24th. As of September 19th, a total of 1,648 titles have been added.

The list does not include titles that have been repeated in each state. 5,094 schools are reported to have banned books, a combined enrollment of 4 million students in 32 states. Among these states, Texas and Florida ranked first and second with the most bans.

The founder and author stated she was shocked about learning that her book had also recently been banned in a Pennsylvania school district. Saujani reached out to the Central York School District president for an understanding as to why her books were added to the list. “You cannot be what you cannot see, they don’t want girls to learn how to code because that’s a way to be economically secure.” she said to Business Insider.

Reshma Saujani uses her stories to teach children how to code. Saujani felt like it was a direct attack on the movement she had been building to get girls into coding in districts that have limited technology and Wi-Fi.

The Central York School District reached out on Monday to call it “categorically false” and for Saujani’s book series to remain available in their libraries.

Recent allegations had been made against Moms for Liberty, a conservative organization advocating for parental rights in schools, who had worked towards getting “Girls Who Code” added to the list, the organization reached out to Business Insider to confirm that the allegations are false.

The additions to the list include titles that tackled racial, women’s, and LGBTQ+ rights issues. 40 percent in books that have featured characters of color, 41 percent on the index of LGBTQ+ themes or LGBTQ+ characters, and 21 percent addressing race and racism.

Many aggressive campaigns have flared up amid culture wars in the last two years. Amongst these campaigns, many deflect accusations by claiming they are targeted for offensive or inappropriate material toward children.

Jo Whittmore, one of the authors of “Girls Who Code” that works alongside Reshma Saujani, said on Twitter “Some people choose not to focus on how awesome and empowering and inspiring these books are but instead choose fear.”

The recent addition of “Girls Who Code” to the list added limelight to the issues regarding banned books and their impact on education and young girls. Saujani adds removing books hinders the invisibility of women in technology and diversity in the industry.

“This is about controlling women and it starts with controlling our girls and what info they have access to.” she told Business Insider.

Reshma Saujani wants to shed light on the opportunity of how big the movement is against children and how much is needed to fight regarding the issue.


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