As a book publisher and marketer, Open Road Integrated Media (parent company of Early Bird Books) unequivocally supports the First Amendment. The right to free expression is fundamental to culture, art, and literature in particular.
EveryLibrary is currently tracking 100 pieces of legislation targeting bans, removals, and censorship in libraries, while over 1,000 title-specific challenges have been issued by formal committees or complaints to school boards and other governing bodies. A recent report from the Washington Post showed that the majority of LGBTQ+ books challenges were filed by 11 individuals.
In the face of a rising tide of book bans, Early Bird Books, along with our sister sites, A Love So True, The Archive, Murder & Mayhem, The Lineup, and The Portalist, is working to raise the voices of authors whose books have been banned and challenged across the country.
Books that have been targeted at schools, libraries, and bookstores will be marked with a Free Voices logo on our sites and newsletters. Bans across the country have targeted books of every nature, though those written by authors of marginalized backgrounds are frequently the focus of ire. Regardless of the content of the books, we believe strongly in the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to free expression.
As small collectives band together to limit access for readers, young readers of all kinds and readers of every age who depend on libraries are especially impacted in their ability to explore new and different worlds through the work of literature. These sometimes difficult topics and opinions should spark conversations and encourage dialogue, not be silenced and removed from the public eye.
As Stephen Chbosky said, “Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”
Free Voices aims to give challenged authors the ability to find the right readers for their books and improve access for readers whose libraries and schools may no longer carry the one of the books that could be one to ignite their reading landscape. It will also give back to The Freedom to Read Foundation, a non-profit that protects and defends the First Amendment and libraries around the country.