(This originally appeared on WYFF4.com)
After the Pickens Co. School Board voted to ban “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You” by Jason Reynolds back in October, the Pickens Co. Public Library System held a meet and greet for Reynolds to promote his new book “Miles Morales: Suspended.”
Updated: 11:11 PM EDT May 5, 2023
By: Carlos Cristian Flores, Reporter
The battle against banned books continues in Pickens County Friday.
After the Pickens Co. School Board voted to ban “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” by Jason Reynolds back in October, the Pickens Co. Public Library System held a meet and greet for Reynolds to promote his new book “Miles Morales: Suspended.”
There were lines outside the door waiting to meet Reynolds. Easley was a stop on a three-city book tour for the author. The visit comes eight months after Reynolds’ book “Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You” was banned by the Pickens Co. School District.
“I didn’t see the representation here in the community, within the boardroom. That frustrated me because, like, it happened overnight and the public didn’t get a chance to respond or react the way they should,” Sesundus Seaton said.
Reynolds talked about his journey as a writer, the importance of telling all types of stories, and where he stands on having his books banned.
“To ban a book like Stamped is, to me, what it feels like to make the claim that I would ever make something to intentionally harm a child. And I would never. That’s not my intention and that’s not what that book does, but it’s being painted in a way that says that’s what it’s doing and that feels violent,” Reynolds said.
He also commended the Pickens Co. Public Library System for fighting to keep books on the shelf.
“If anything, what may happen is you may read something and become more fortified. To read stories like this, to read information like this, makes us giants. It doesn’t make us small. I think the librarians in this building and all over this area understand that. We are in the business of building giants,” Reynolds said.
Susan Childers, chairwoman of the Pickens Co. Public Library system, believes authors like Reynolds will inspire the next generation.
“How many young people need to hear what he has to say about literacy and getting them on board with literacy? I think he was a perfect example for that, for them,” Childers said.
Book lovers, young and old, appreciated the public library for stepping up.
“I think it’s brave for the public library to bring in an author who is diversely represented and so easily speaks about issues that are pressing all of us right now, so I’m excited,” Allison Brown said.
“Just to hear all his responses about the issue of banning books and how important it is we do not censor our books. That we allow books that are mirrors and windows for students in our public schools and how much we need every book on self and stop this censoring nonsense,” school librarian Tracy Brady said.
“Where are the people banning these books tonight? Did they come to this event to find out from the author himself? Where are these kinds of things happening except through people like the library system? It’s the power of books. It brings all these people together and proves that literature is not scary. It’s what people do in their minds that is the scary part,” Meg Black said.
The ACLU of South Carolina has filed a lawsuit against the Pickens Co. School District in hopes of bringing Stamped back to the shelves.
A spokesperson for the Pickens Co. School District did confirm the district has received the lawsuit but would not comment at this time.