Honoring Banned Books Week with Amy Sarig King

September 20, 2022

Honoring Banned Books Week with Amy Sarig King

Every September, we celebrate banned books. These are the stories that are so powerful—and so transformative—some people think others shouldn’t be able to read them. Banning or censoring a book may be done with good intentions, but it ends up limiting access to diverse, often marginalized, voices and deprives readers of important historical information. 

In this episode, award-winning author Amy Sarig King talks with host Suzanne McCabe about Attack of the Black Rectangles, her new novel for middle graders. The book, which takes on censorship and intolerance, is based on an experience Amy had in her Pennsylvania town. After her son came home from school with a novel about the Holocaust, in which certain passages were blacked out, the author sought to find out why. What followed may surprise you.

Amy is also the author of The Year We Fell From Space, Me and Marvin Gardens, and several other acclaimed titles for young readers.


Meet Amy Sarig King: Find out why The New York Times calls Amy “one of the best Y.A. writers working today.” 

The Devil’s Arithmetic: Learn more about Jane Yolen’s 1988 novel about the Holocaust, which became the subject of Attack of the Black Rectangles after being censored at a Pennsylvania school. 

Banned Books Week: Explore online book events, discussions, and resources for September 18–24.  

The Ultimate List of Banned Books: Check out these groundbreaking titles for ages 3 to 13 that have been challenged or banned. 


Amy Sarig King, author, Attack of the Black Rectangles:

“I find it amazing that in the middle of a very harrowing, very educational, and very age-appropriate scene about the Holocaust, it would be interrupted with this large, black distraction.”

“When you take [away] intellectual freedom, that’s quite a big step in any society. If we look back through history, people who succeeded at limiting what their citizens could read, it never ended well.”

“We have to move forward and face truths and accept them.”

“I wrote the book because . . . I wanted to see a different outcome.”

“If you don’t like the book, put it down. If you don’t like the TV show, change the channel.”

“You have a freedom to not do a thing as much as you have a freedom to do a thing. We’ve had opt-out policies in our schools for years. They have worked perfectly, seamlessly.”

“If you’re going to protect students . . . you should protect my child. You should protect every child.”

“We need to start having conversations.”

“The best thing you can do is make your voice heard.”

“We learn to use our voices when we’re young. We don’t just suddenly show up when we’re 18.”

“Books are important. [They] change lives. They open minds.”

Special Thanks

Producer: Bridget Benjamin

Associate producer: Constance Gibbs 

Sound engineer: Daniel Jordan

Music composer: Lucas Elliot Eberl 

Coming Soon

Celebrating Hispanic & Latine Heritage Month • The Science of Reading • R.L. Stine

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