LeVar Burton implores kids to read banned books: 'That's where the good stuff is'

On The Daily Show Tuesday night, host Trevor Noah discussed the book-ban efforts spreading across the U.S.

Since the start of the school year, the American Library Association has tracked more than 230 book challenges nationwide by groups of parents, officials and lawmakers who are trying to ban books, which baffled Noah. "They want to burn books? Burn books? We're not in the 1900s. We're living in 2022. We shouldn't be burning books. We have air fryers and microwaves and all kinds of cool shit now. We could be filleting the books." Noah went on to explain how the types of books that are being challenged are getting out of hand.

Books on race, gender and sexuality are disappearing from school shelves, along with books about coming of age and dealing with real-world issues like depression, gender politics, racial injustice. Even books about history, like the Holocaust and slavery are being called out.

"You can see how crazy this book banning trend has gotten. They're banning books about race, gender, sexuality, emotions, history. Guys, that's all books," said Noah.

"People, this isn't about books. This is about keeping the culture war going for political benefit," he continued. "You don't just have Republicans in dozens of states around the country suddenly realizing, all at the same time, that there are books that they want to ban in their libraries. All at the same time. Come on. It's happening because they think it's a winning issue, or at least they think it's more of a winning issue than Trump is secretly still the president." And to further illustrate his point of how out of control the book ban is getting, actor and Reading Rainbow host LeVar Burton popped in to read some of those challenged books.

However, there were no "acceptable" books Burton could read, noting, for example, that the Rosa Parks children's book is banned "because reading about segregation is divisive." So he simply pleaded to kids: "There are plenty of books to choose from, but you know what? No. Read the books they don't want you to. That's where the good stuff is."

Finally, Burton yelled, "Read banned books!"

The Daily Show airs weeknights at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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