NEW YORK – The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) Impact and Legacy Fund, its newly formed charitable/social action division, are co-sponsoring a discussion of book banning with bestselling authors whose works have been challenged and members of Student Advocates for Speech (SAS), NCAC’s new initiative to build a national network of high school free speech clubs. The virtual event, Are You Free to Read What You Want?, will be held on November 30, 2022, at 8 p.m. ET. The public can register for the event at

Authors Ellen Hopkins, whose books include Tricks, Impulse and Burned, Lesléa Newman, Heather Has Two Mommies,  Mike Curato, Flamer, and possibly a fourth author, will join the teenagers who are organizing SAS clubs in eight states, including censorship hotspots like Texas, Florida, and Missouri. The clubs will discuss book banning and the importance of free speech and organize events to show other students how to defend their First Amendment rights. Club members receive training and mentorship from free speech experts, educators, and authors. SAS is a project of NCAC’s Youth Free Expression Program.

The participants will address the increasingly dire book banning crisis. The latest data from the American Library Association (ALA) shows that the number of attempts to ban or restrict resources in school, academic, and public libraries, is on track to exceed record counts for the second year. In the first eight months of the year, ALA received reports of 681 challenges to 1,651 books.

About the National Coalition Against Censorship
Since its inception in 1974, the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) has been a first responder in protecting freedom of expression, a fundamental human right and a keystone of democracy. Representing 59 trusted education, publishing, and arts organizations, NCAC works with people fighting censorship at the local level.  It encourages and facilitates dialogue between diverse voices and perspectives, including those that have historically been silenced.

About The SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund
The SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund, launched in 2022, is a division of SCBWI created to support the charitable activities and community purposes of SCBWI. The mission of the SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund is to provide and administer specific endowments, grants, awards, and programs that enhance the effectiveness and reach of the children’s book community. Specifically, these projects highlight the important role of children’s books and their creators, support quality children’s literature for all communities and audiences, and provide education, financial support, and public information for children’s book creators, their programs, and good works.