More than 1,500 books have been banned in public schools, and a U.S. House panel is asking why

Photo illustration by John Partipilo/Tennessee Lookout / The McMinn County Board of Education in Athens, Tennessee, set off a debate across the country when it voted in January to remove the Pulitzer Prize-winning graphic novel "Maus: A Survivor's Tale" from its curriculum.

WASHINGTON - A U.S. House Oversight and Reform Committee panel last week examined why thousands of books, predominantly written by marginalized authors, have been banned from public schools, and the impact of those actions on students and teachers.

"Most books being targeted for censorship are books that introduce ideas about diversity or our common humanity, books that teach children to recognize and respect humanity in one another," said the chair of the Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Rep. Jamie Raskin.

Raskin, a Maryland Democrat, cited a new report by Pen America - an organization that advocates for the protection of free speech - that found from July 2021 to the end of March this year, more than 1,500 books were banned in 86 school districts in 26 states.