Florida is now the book banning-est state in the U.S. Bestselling authors David Baldacci and Michael Connelly have joined PEN America‘s new advocacy center in Miami, FL to fight book bans with “boots on the ground,” says Connelly.
The authors argue that book banning is not about the books. “Books are supposed to make you think … We have to make a stand now. This is not about banning a bunch of books. This is about removing from the public domain certain issues and discussions and certain parts of society,” says Baldacci.
Florida, among other places, has purposely and increasingly banned books that feature marginalized groups of people — people of color, LGBTQ+ people. “Books teach you empathy, which is probably the greatest human attribute,” Baldacci continues, because it makes you sympathetic and makes you far more tolerant of people — and makes you love people.”
“When dictators take over countries, one of the first things they do is they shutter all the libraries. Why? Because that’s where humanity exists. That’s what makes us human beings — open and tolerant, curious and intellectual.”
Listen to Velshi, Connelly and Baldacci:
Watch Velshi’s interview:
Velshi on banned books on MSNBC:
MORE ON BANNED BOOKS FROM THE CITIZEN
Left to right: Michael Connelly, Ali Velshi and David Baldacci.