Freedom to Read Roundtable

We were proud to sponsor a Freedom to Read Roundtable event hosted by the Texas Library Association. Voices from every aspect of this ongoing and constantly evolving issue weighed in, including a teacher, librarian, parent, legislator, author, and student, using the recent book bannings in Texas and the response from teachers, librarians, and the community at large as an example of a way forward in protecting the first amendment nationwide. The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom closed out the program and all attendees will receive resources following the event.


Brian Lopez is the Public Education Reporter for The Texas Tribune. He joined the Tribune in August 2021 after a covering local government at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram for a little over a year. The Star-Telegram was his first gig after graduating from the University of Texas at Arlington in May 2020 where he worked for the student-run newspaper The Shorthorn. When not on the job, he’s either watching or playing soccer.

George Matthew Johnson is a writer and activist best known for their “memoir-manifesto” titled All Boys Aren’t Blue. The book was optioned for a TV series less than two months after its April 28, 2020 release. Johnson has also written articles for outlets such as BuzzFeed, BET, Vice, The Root, Essence, Teen Vogue, and The Advocate.

Jeneta N. is a high school junior from Texas. She is an editor-in-chief on her school’s student newspaper. She likes to draw portraits, cook new recipes, and learn about the world. On any given day, you can probably find her attempting to understand a TV series or YouTube video in French.

Ryan S. is a 15 year old sophomore and attends Timber Creek High School in Keller Texas. He was born in China with a physical disability of having one hand. At the age of 3 1/2 he was adopted and immigrated to America. He has a learning disability that affects his writing and reading but it doesn’t stop him from reading for hours. Ryan is in a national speech debate association and also  in Texas Association of Future Educators. When he grows up he wants to become a teacher and teach the kids of the future and inspire them to love to learn. He dealt with a lot of discrimination over his lifetime due to his race and sexuality and has been drawn to reading books that reflect his representation. Ryan connected to books and fell in love with literature because he can look at the books and say “there I am”. 

Erica Sanchez is a lifelong learner that believes books open new portals and perspectives. Erica was a dual language educator for 12 years, is a community advocate, Tejana, wife and mother. She currently works in the non-profit sector and advocates on behalf of early childhood education.

Mary Woodard, Texas Library Association president-elect, is the Director of Library Services for Mesquite ISD She is responsible for supervising district processing center staff, designing professional development for librarians, establishing, and implementing a vision for school libraries. She has more than 30 years of experience as a school librarian.

Read and Share Banned Books:

Looking for more resources to read and support frequently challenged books? Check out our booklist here!

Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group stands against censorship, and in support of the librarians and teachers who are doing their part to share a love of reading with their students. We believe that all readers deserve access to an inclusive selection of titles and we are committed to working with our authors to reach readers with their stories. Visit The National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom to report censorship in your community.