books on wooden shelves inside library
Anti-Racism, Books, K-12

An American Love Poem by Kwame Alexander

I would love for you to read “An American Love Poem,” by Kwame Alexander, published as an Op-Ed in the Los Angeles Times. I apologize if it’s behind a paywall for you, but I was able to access it without a subscription, and I hope that you can, as well. The poem is the author’s response to book banning, something that is becoming far too frequent in our country. I chose this as my Friday Anti-Racist post this week because it breaks my heart to watch books being removed from libraries based on bigotry, racism, and fear of making readers “uncomfortable.” Once again, we have people who are making uninformed decisions, and reducing what should be nuanced and thoughtful conversations into polarizing accusations of indoctrination and child endangerment. Why can’t we have civilized discussions among people who have read these materials and understand the needs of children, instead of kneejerk reactions to out-of-context quotes and clearly biased summaries?

I love the last line in Alexander’s poem because it centers this debate on the children, the ones who desperately need to understand their world and to see themselves in it.

“I want them to know
that banning a book
is like banning a hug
and that is a dismal storm
no child should be left behind in.”

I’ll be adding this post to my Anti-Racism resources, which you can find here.

light inside library
Photo by Janko Ferlic on