coming July ’24

Trouble in Censorville: The Far Right’s Assault on Public Education and the Teacher’s Who Are Fighting Back.

Edited by Nadine M. Kalin and Rebekah Modrak. Foreword by Jonathan Friedman, Director of Free Expression and Education Programs, PEN America.

296 pages, paperback, 5. 5 x 8.25″

ISBN: 978-1-964098-00-5

From Florida, whose “Don’t Say Gay” law prohibits K-12 instruction on gender identity and sexual orientation, to Texas, which is shuttering libraries in schools whose student bodies are majority Black or Hispanic/Latinx, America is in the middle of a far-right war on public education.

Now, for the first time, K-12 educators from across the nation give readers a teacher’s-eye view of the radical right crusade to take down public education, coordinated by well-funded, well-connected far-right political interests. Christian nationalists hell-bent on erasing the line between church and state, white supremacists opposed to a curriculum that teaches the enduring effects of anti-Black racism, political action committees, such as Moms for Liberty, calling for the banning of novels featuring LGBTQ+ people, and profiteers eager to divert taxpayer dollars into private schools are mounting a relentless attack on teachers, the students they serve, and the commitment to public education that is a cornerstone of democracy. “It’s a phenomenal, unprecedented moment that we’re in,” says a librarian, recently retired from her Texas school. “It’s surprising how many people don’t know what’s going on. I talk to reporters who have no idea. And they’re reporters.”

In Trouble in Censorville, public school teachers from states as far-flung as Florida, Texas, Kentucky, New Jersey, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Washington describe, in their own words, being threatened, stalked, doxxed, ostracized, smeared as “groomers” and “pedophiles,” placed on leave, and fired for teaching historical truth and racial justice, supporting LGBTQ+ students and, in one case, for wearing “insufficiently” feminine attire. Their stories bring readers face-to-face with the human cost of these attacks, which range from social isolation to pent-up anger over institutional betrayal to the terrible toll on teachers’ mental and physical health.

Teachers are fighting back. They’re mobilizing colleagues, parents, and community members who share their faith in the freedom to read, the freedom to think critically, the freedom to challenge small-minded provincialism. Their stories of frontline resistance, collected here, provide a battle plan for confronting censorship, rallying support, and mobilizing a grassroots defense of public schools.

Their gripping testimonials are enhanced by a timeline that situates today’s far-right war on public education in the context of American History, moving briskly from Reconstruction to the anti-left and anti-gay fearmongering of the McCarthy era to the Black Lives Matter movement to the Trump presidency

Terrifying, infuriating, and inspiring, Trouble in Censorville sounds the alarm for a democracy on fire.


An urgent and compelling battle cry against the insidious rise of censorship. Everyone who believes in freedom of expression should examine this text.

-Juno Dawson, This Book is Gay

Trouble in Censorville is an urgent bulletin from the teachers and librarians on the front lines of the war against reason that is sweeping our country. Their powerful testimony is enraging—these vicious attacks are not what they signed up for. But it’s also profoundly uplifting, a vision of courage, resistance, and grace under fire that is a model for us all in these dark times

-Alison Bechdel, Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

I am so deeply grateful to every teacher and every librarian standing firm against censorship and working to keep my book and others like it on the library shelves. As a queer teen, I desperately needed those books, and the teens of today need them more than ever.

-Maia Kobabe, Gender Queer: A Memoir

100% of the profits from this book go to the teachers whose testimonies made Trouble in Censorville possible – a small contribution to the welfare of those whose courage cost well-being and an investment in their continuing activism.