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'Words matter and I think they're important' | Bastrop independent bookshop hosts banned book giveaway

A selection of books that have received ban requests across Texas were distributed.

BASTROP, Texas — In response to Texas school districts banning certain books from classrooms, a Bastrop independent bookstore will distributed banned books to readers at an event on Saturday.

Digital reading subscription service Scribd said it partnered with Ryan Holiday, owner of "The Painted Porch," best-selling author and host of the "Daily Stoic" podcast.

Scribd said it will bring its new “Banned Bookmobile” and visitors will find music and memorabilia encouraging everyone “to support the freedom to read.”

The event is the second of two this week, following one on Thursday.

"I wanted the children in schools who don't have access to the free books in the library because they are banned to have access to those books," Holiday said.

A selection of books that have received ban requests across Texas will be distributed, including “Not My Idea” by Anastasia Higginbotham, “King and the Dragon Flies” by Kacen Callender, “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini, and “New Kid” by Jerry Craft, among others, Scribd said.

Ryan Offermann and her mom, A.J., stopped by after learning about the banned book giveaway. 

"I love books I love to read. I've been getting interested in the banned books and their importance and the reason why they're banned," Ryan Offermann said.

"I think it's a kind of suppression to not be able to educate others," A.J. Offermann said.  

Freedom to read is the message bookshop owners Ryan and Sam Holiday want to spread. 

"As owners of a bookshop and then also as a writer, this is our livelihood," Ryan Holiday said.

The event will took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 912 Main St. in Bastrop.

"Words matter, and I think they're important and especially if they're banned, there's always a reason. So I think we should find out why," Ryan Offermann said.

In the fall of 2021, State Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) released a list of 850 books he wanted to see get reviewed by school and district leaders across the state, arguing they may be inappropriate for students. The list and announcement ignited investigations across Texas into what books were made available to students.

In the fall, Leander ISD released a list of books banned from classroom libraries and book club reading lists, including "The Handmaid's Tale: The Graphic Novel" by Margaret Atwood and Renee Nault, "V is for Vendetta" by Alan Moore and "Y: The Last Man Book One" by Brian K. Vaughan.

In response, a group of students started a “Banned Book Club,” telling KVUE they want student voices to be heard when decisions are made over reading material at schools.

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