Stephen King’s tweet encouraging kids to read banned books inspired a lot of negative feedback from followers.
“Hey, kids! It’s your old buddy Steve King telling you that if they ban a book in your school, haul your ass to the nearest bookstore or library ASAP and find out what they don’t want you to read,” the best-selling author’s original tweet said.
“Stephen doesn’t understand there are things called age-appropriate materials,” Billboard Chris, a Canadian activist, replied.
“I’m not sure Stephen understands how creepy this is, considering the materials that are being restricted are openly pornographic,” Nick Frietas, a Republican member of the Virginia House of Delegates, agreed.
“Does this include pornography? Because I’m pretty sure parents don’t want you telling their children to access pornographic material.” Stephen Miller, former senior advisor to President Trump said.
“Periodic reminder that when they accuse us of ‘banning books’ they’re referring to graphic books containing pornographic content. Stephen King wants your kids to have access to these books in school,” Libs of TikTok shared alongside an image of some books which have recently become hotly contested.
Periodic reminder that when they accuse us of “banning books” they’re referring to graphic books containing pornographic content. Stephen King wants your kids to have access to these books in school. https://t.co/DFsaqXeut4 pic.twitter.com/8w8grzwou3
— Libs of TikTok (@libsoftiktok) January 19, 2023
One of those is the memoir “Gender Queer.” The book provides verbal descriptions of masturbation and oral sex alongside explicit illustrations. One scene includes a 14-year-old boy fantasizing about touching an older man’s penis. A Colorado mother was silenced at her local school board meeting when she tried to read from the book while attempting to get it removed from her child’s school library.
“Pornography does not belong in our schools, or accessible to our children,” the parent pleaded, echoing similar sentiments being argued at other school board meetings across the country.
“This Book Is Gay,” another frequently banned title, instructs readers how to make a profile on the gay hookup app Grindr and other “sex apps.”
There’s also the banned book “Queer: The LGBT Guide For Teens,” which provides in-depth descriptions of anal sex, oral sex, one-night stands, and “vaginal sex with dildos.” That book also discusses the relationship between God and the LGBT community. It warns against people who “use religion to justify their ignorant viewpoints and tell you that you’re going to burn in hell for being gay.”
Libs Of TikTok also shared graphic illustrations from the books “Flamer” and “Let’s Talk About It,” which are also unavailable in some schools.
Sexually explicit books aren’t the only ones being rejected from school libraries. A list of the 50 most banned books in schools included titles featuring other themes, including teen suicide, rape, drug use, racism, and other complex topics.
Individual states and school districts decide which books should be available for students.