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Book bannings in American aren't new, but they are getting renewed attention

Book banning is popular again [shutterstock]
Book banning is popular again [shutterstock]

Just like a good classic there is some reading material that is getting a second look, as you've likely heard some rumblings about the push to remove controversial materials, from classrooms.

Book banning, and control over curricula are hardly new fights here in America but the political polarization and tactics behind it do feel fresh.

In Oklahoma, a bill was introduced in the State Senate to prohibit public school libraries from stocking books that focus on sexual activity, sexual identity, or gender identity.

In Tennessee, a county Board of Education voted to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel "Maus" from an eighth grade lesson on the Holocaust. And the list is long.

For the second part of the hour, we'll talk about contentious material, why certain books are being targeted, and by whom.

With us for this discussion is Donald Boozer, Manager of the Literature Department and Coordinator at The Ohio Center for the Book at Cleveland Public Library, Ariel Hakim, the founder of Banned Book Box, a subscription service that specializes in highlighting controversial reading material, Harvey Graff, professor emeritus of English and history and Ohio Eminent Scholar at The Ohio State University, and Kevin Latimer, a poet, playwright, and Founder of Grieveland, a publisher here in Cleveland.

To begin the hour however, we discuss burn pits, which gained renewed attention last week, after President Joe Biden mentioned them in his State of the Union address.

Those pits are open-air fires that are often used in combat zones, and are now being linked to forms of cancer, as well as respiratory problems.

New research is being done at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, and we’ll talk to one of the researchers, Dr. Loren Wold, about the work, and a new grant they received from the Department of Veterans Affairs.

- Loren Wold, MD, Professor of Nursing and Medicine, Researcher The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

- Donald Boozer, Literature Department Manager, Cleveland Public Library

- Ariel Hakim, Founder, “Banned Books Box”

- Harvey Graff, PhD, Professor Emeritus of English, The Ohio State University

- Kevin Latimer, Poet, Playwright, Founder of Grieveland

Drew Maziasz is a coordinating producer for the "Sound of Ideas" and also serves as the show’s technical producer.