Pink to distribute 2000 'banned' books at Florida concerts

 (Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)
(Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP)

Singer Pink has announced plans to hand out 2,000 books that have been “banned” by some schools in Florida at her upcoming concerts in Miami.

The three-time Grammy winner will distribute the books in collaboration with the national free speech organisation PEN America.

Book bans are on the rise in the United States, with a record 1,269 demands made to restrict or remove titles in schools and libraries last year, up from 156 in 2020, according to the American Library Association.

In March this year 80 titles were removed from schools in Martin county, Florida, by the school district because of their sexual and racial content. These included classic novels like Beloved and The Bluest Eye by the Pulitzer prize-winning novelist Toni Morrison.

Pink, who has described herself as a voracious reader, said she is “unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools” as she announced her giveaway.

“Books have held a special joy for me from the time I was a child, and that's why I am unwilling to stand by and watch while books are banned by schools,” Pink said in a statement.

"It's especially hateful to see authorities take aim at books about race and racism and against LGBTQ authors and those of colour.

"We have made so many strides toward equality in this country and no-one should want to see this progress reversed."

She will distribute four titles: Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Todd Parr’s The Family Book, Stacia Deutsch’s Girls Who Code and the poem recited by the poet Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration in January 2021, The Hill We Climb.

Ron DeSantis, the US presidential hopeful, who has pledged to "wage a war on woke", last year brought in a series of laws as the Florida governor to make it easier for parents to challenge books or educational material available in schools.

PEN says around 40 per cent of book bans in the United States in the last year took place in Florida.

PEN defines a book ban as when books are deemed "off limits" to students in school libraries or classrooms, or when books are removed during an investigation to determine whether there should be any restrictions. The majority of the targeted books deal with issues of racism, sexuality and gender identity.