book censorship, book bans, civic education, critical inquiry, social studies education


This article argues that recent advances in book censorship in the United States point to a threat to critical inquiry pedagogy in social studies education— a content area aiming to prepare learners for active and engaged citizenship in a pluralistic, democratic society. To support this argument, the article offers a description of critical inquiry pedagogy and explains how critical inquiry is connected to social studies education. It provides examples of two recently censored children’s literature books listed on Pen America’s (2022) Index of School Book Bans and it explains what these books may offer social studies education. It then suggests that the censorship of these books stifles critical inquiry in social studies classrooms. The article explores possible next steps that social studies educators, and advocates of social studies education, could take to address the uptick in book censorship, and it closes with a brief conclusion.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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