What's the Deal?

with Ali Velshi's Banned Book Club

MSBNC host Ali Velshi founded his #VelshiBannedBookClub in February 2022, in response to the increasingly widespread practice of schools and libraries prohibiting readers — especially young readers — from accessing books that adults believe would make these readers uncomfortable.

These books include such literary classics as Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye and  Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, contemporary tomes such as Ibram X. Kendi’s Stamped from the Beginning and How to be an Antiracist, and illustrated children’s books, New Kid and I Am Rosa Parks. Sadly, the list is way too long to include.


Learn More

From Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson is an award-winning  New York Times-bestselling author whose fight for intellectual freedom is recognized and honored by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English.

She is also a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council, frequently speaking about sexual violence.  You can sign up for updates on her future speaking engagements here.



In CitizenCast

The Citizen’s podcast version of Ali Velshi’s banned book interview with author Laurie Helse Anderson.



Listen: Ali Velshi Banned Book Club on Speak with Laurie Halse Anderson

The MSNBC anchor speaks with the author of a YA book about sexual assault

Listen: Ali Velshi Banned Book Club on Speak with Laurie Halse Anderson

The MSNBC anchor speaks with the author of a YA book about sexual assault

Laurie Halse Anderson’s YA novel Speak poignantly explores the immediate aftermath and emotional repercussions of sexual assault, along with the concept of consent. It is among the first young adult works to explore this reality. Speak has appeared on the American Library Association’sTop 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books” since its publication in 1999 — climbing higher on the list each year.

There is a voracity behind the calls to remove Speak from school syllabuses and library shelves that we have not seen from many other #VelshiBannedBookClub features. Banning a book like this sends a clear message that these topics are not to be discussed. They are something that should be kept silent. Irony.

“You would think that people would find the educational system, as well as homes, the right place to talk about these things,” says Halse Anderson. “Our kids need us to have the courage to talk about things that many parents are uncomfortable with.”

Listen to the interview below:

Velshi and Halse Anderson Discuss Speak:

Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:


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