October 6, 2022

Truth Brigade: No Book Clubs

Joslyn Diffenbaugh, 14, and her peers say the book ban won’t stop them from reading and learning about important issues

As more school districts across the country vote to ban the books, students are taking matters into their own hands.

Joslyn Diffenbaugh, 14, an eighth-grade student at Kutztown Middle School in Pennsylvania, has always been an avid reader. Before the 2021-2022 school year, she told her mother that she wanted to start a book club – just another excuse to carry her latest reading and discuss it with her peers.

Then she started hearing about books being banned in various states and saw her parents start getting letters from candidates running for the local school board calling for the books to be banned in her school district as well. His plans changed and the Banned Book Club was born.

“I really like books,” Joslyn told TODAY Parents. “And I really want people to have access to all these books and really see why they’re trying to ban them.”

About 15 students attend the book club – the youngest member is in seventh grade and the oldest is a junior in high school. About 300 students attend Kutztown Middle School and nearly 440 attend high school.

“We focus on new banned books, especially books dealing with racial and LGBTQ+ issues,” says Joslyn. “But we also read historically banned books, because we want to see why books were banned in the past versus why those books are now banned today.”

His plans changed and the Banned Book Club was born. “I really like books,” Joslyn told TODAY Parents.