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Harris County leaders working to change the narrative on banned books

KHOU-TV Houston logo KHOU-TV Houston 9/22/2022 Brittany Ford

During National Banned Books Week, Harris County leaders are showcasing where you can find books that have ended up on a district's banned book list.  

Many of those banned books are available for check out at county libraries. It's an effort focusing on a person's right to choose what they want to read as more area school districts take some books off their shelves.

"'To Kill a Mockingbird' ... this book has been banned in certain places in Texas," said County Commissioner Rodney Ellis. "Here's another book, 'New Kid' by Jeremy craft that has been banned in certain places."

RELATED: Some Katy ISD parents think more should be done to restrict what books are available to students

The county’s library system says many of the books that have been banned in about 800 cases around the state are available for check out.  

"If they want to read those materials, they can. If they don't want to read those materials, they have a choice not to read those materials," said Harris County Public Library Director Edward Melton.

A recent report showed that Texas has banned more books from school libraries than any other state, targeting titles that focus on race, racism, abortion and LGBTQ+ representation.

RELATED: Texas has banned more books than any other state, new report shows

Commissioner Ellis described it as a war on information. 

"When we come from different cultures, we have different languages," he said. The more we read the, more we learn about other people’s culture, the more tolerant it makes us." 

"Across the nation - and especially in Texas - there is a war on truth that is raging, and the frontlines happened to be our public schools."  

Harris County said the banned titles are available at libraries across the county all year long.  

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