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LeVar Burton Spoofs “Reading Rainbow” to Highlight Banned Books

Banned Book Rainbow

As if we needed more reasons to love LeVar Burton.

The actor and longtime host of "Reading Rainbow" made an appearance on the "Jimmy Kimmel Show" recently to speak out against book bans, doing so in the form of a spoof of his beloved reading show.

Called “Banned Book Rainbow,” the spot finds Burton explaining book bans to a group of kids who are absolutely bewildered by the concept. "Banned Book Rainbow" is “where we talk about books that have been banned by adults who don’t want kids to learn or grow or change and have totally lost their sense of wonder. Sounds like fun?” Burton asks the kids before inquiring if they know why adults want to ban books. 

“They don’t want their kids to be smarter than them,” said a child. “They want to have more power.”

“He’s speaking the truth, though,” said another child in response.

Burton then showed the kids several books that have been banned and challenged in schools and libraries like "Harriet the Spy," "Charlotte’s Web," "And Tango Makes Three," and more, and explained some of the ridiculous reasons why they’d been banned. Again, the kids were flabbergasted.

To wrap up the segment, Burton takes the kids to a school board meeting where the “banned-book sausage gets made.”

It’s a hilarious and powerful clip. Watch it here:


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Take action

Alarmed by the escalating attempts to censor books? Here are five steps you can take now to protect the freedom to read.

  1. Follow news and social media in your community and state to keep apprised of organizations working to censor library or school materials.
    2. Show up for library workers at school or library board meetings and speak as a library advocate and community stakeholder who supports a parent’s right to restrict reading materials for their own child but not for all
    3. Help provide a safety net for library professionals as they defend intellectual freedom in their communities by giving to the LeRoy C. Merritt Humanitarian Fund.
    4. Educate friends, neighbors, and family members about censorship and how it harms communities. Share information from Banned Books Week.
    5. Join the Unite Against Book Bans movement and visit our Fight Censorship page to learn what you can do to defend the freedom to read in your community.

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