© 2022 University of Missouri - KBIA
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

In Republic, book challenges raise the question, “What should kids read?”



When Republic High School in southwest Missouri removed two novels from its curriculum and library in July, it drew national attention and launched a conversation about what books are acceptable for Missouri students.

Last week, local librarians celebrated Banned Books Week by inviting the author of one of the novels to speak and read from her work. As part of Word Missouri, an ongoing series on literature in the state, KBIA’s Davis Dunavin traveled to Republic to explore what makes a book suitable for students – and what Missouri’s next generation of writers think of efforts to control what they read.

Davis Dunavin grew up in the bootheel of Missouri and worked for the Southeast Missourian and Off! Magazine before moving to New York City in 2006, where he worked as a freelance writer and a bookstore clerk. He's a Masters student in Journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and served as a Convergence Journalism teaching assistant at KBIA before launching the Word Missouri project in August. He lives in Columbia with his wife Elizabeth, coincidentally also a bookstore clerk and organizer of the Cold Reading poetry series at Get Lost Bookshop in downtown Columbia. When he's not there, he can sometimes be found leading a double life as a street musician.