The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

The news site of Miami Palmetto Senior High School

The Panther

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Hot Off the Press: Miami’s Newest Banned Book Book Club 

Hot+Off+the+Press%3A+Miami%E2%80%99s+Newest+Banned+Book+Book+Club%C2%A0
Madeline Volpe

During a peak in what Miami teen, Iris Mogul, has called “censorship in education,” she decided to take action for the greater Miami community. Partnering with Books & Books Coral Gables, Mogul created the store’s first ever Banned Book Club. 

“Our club meets at Books & Books Coral Gables once a month. I anticipated that Books & Books would be supportive of my project because of how active they have been in the fight against censorship,” Mogul said. “Book challenges, bans and removals from public libraries and schools are plaguing Florida’s education system now more than ever. Over 300 books were removed from libraries across districts in Florida last year, so it is important to engage people in the fight for the right to read.” 

Banned Book Club at Books & Books aims to create a space for young adults across Miami to share ideas and push back against censorship — especially in literature. The club meets on the last Thursday of every month, creating a community of book lovers. 

“I was eager to meet people that also loved reading and were open to talking about books and ideas. I thought a book club where we focus on books that have been banned hit two birds with one stone: the club could be a space to discuss thought-provoking books and an act of resistance towards censorship,” Mogul said. 

The club officially began meeting on Aug. 31, and currently has around 20 consistent members.

“Although there have only been two meetings thus far, a powerful community is being created. I have already learned a lot from hearing brilliant people discuss Zora Neale Hurtson’s ‘Their Eyes Were Watching God’ at our second meeting,” Mogul said. “Our club will continue to make a significant impact on the community and spread the message that honest education and history is important.”

A fan of all literature, especially social justice narratives and science fiction, Mogul enjoys reading novels that reflect the current environment. 

“My personal favorite book is ‘Parable of the Sower’ by Octavia Butler. The book was written in 1993, but surrounds political and social topics that are ultra-relevant in today’s society. The main character is a strong young woman and the plot and writing are gripping,” Mogul said. 

Mogul views banning books as a way of silencing historically oppressed groups, and takes it as her mission to share their stories despite legislative shutdown. 

“Most of the books that have been banned surround themes of systemic racism and other forms of discrimination. Although these topics are painful, they must be talked about. If the U.S. does not come to terms with its history, systems of oppression will continue to repeat themselves. Students deserve to learn and read truthful history, not just comfortable history,” Mogul said. 

Mogul plans to host her next meeting Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Coral Gables Books & Books location.

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About the Contributors
Amy-Grace Shapiro
Amy-Grace Shapiro, Editor-in-Chief
Amy-Grace Shapiro is a senior and the Editor-in-Chief. This is her fourth year on staff, and she looks to inspire The Panther staff to value the importance of journalistic integrity, improve the quality of her writing and extend The Panther's reach to the Palmetto community. Aside from newspaper, Shapiro enjoys yoga, playing lacrosse and visiting her camp friends.
Madeline Volpe
Madeline Volpe, Video Editor
Madeline Volpe is a junior and Video Editor. This is her second year on staff, and she hopes to expand the video section and improve her writing and editing skills. Aside from newspaper, Volpe likes to listen to music, read and watch movies.