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Pink gives away 2,000 banned books at Florida concerts

Pink is joining the fight against book banning.

In collaboration with PEN America and Florida bookseller Books & Books, the Grammy-winning pop musician is giving away 2,000 challenged books at her concerts in Miami and Sunrise Florida this week.

The books, which have appeared in PEN America's Index of Banned Books, include Beloved by Toni Morrison, Amanda Gorman's The Hill We Climb, Girls Who Code by Reshma Saujani and Todd Parr's The Family Book.

"It's confusing, it's infuriating, it is censorship," Pink said in an Instagram videoannouncing her action on Monday.

The video, which also featured PEN America president Suzanne Nossel, has been liked more than 33,000 times.

"Books have held a special joy for me from the time I was a child, and that's why I am unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools," P!nk said in a PEN statement about the giveaway. "It's especially hateful to see authorities take aim at books about race and racism and against LGBTQ authors and those of color. We have made so many strides toward equality in this country and no one should want to see this progress reversed. This is why I am supporting PEN America in its work and why I agree with them: no more banned books."

"We're here to show that books aren't scary," said PEN America program manager Sabrina Adams in a YouTube post made at one of the concert venues, as young people picked up black tote bags containing books.

According to PEN America's latest research, Florida surpassed Texas over the past academic year: There are more books banned in public school classrooms and libraries in the Sunshine State than any other state in the union. PEN America said it recorded 1,406 book ban cases in Florida, followed by 625 bans in Texas, 333 bans in Missouri, 281 bans in Utah, and 186 bans in Pennsylvania." PEN also reported a a 33% spike in book bans nationally.

The PEN America statement also urged Pink fans to go to pen.org/pink to find out more about how they can fight book bans.

Meanwhile, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has dismissed books bans as a "hoax."

"Exposing the 'book ban' hoax is important because it reveals that some are attempting to use our schools for indoctrination," DeSantis said in a news release issued by his office earlier this year. "In Florida, pornographic and inappropriate materials that have been snuck into our classrooms and libraries to sexualize our students violate our state education standards. Florida is the education state and that means providing students with a quality education free from sexualization and harmful materials that are not age appropriate."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Elizabeth Blair is a Peabody Award-winning senior producer/reporter on the Arts Desk of NPR News.
Chloe Veltman
Chloe Veltman is a correspondent on NPR's Culture Desk.