‘This Book Won’t Burn’: Celebrating Young People’s Bravery in the Face of Book Bans

Banning books is deeply harmful to children. Censorship not only removes books from library shelves; it erases identities. Bans suggest that the very existence of some human beings is controversial. Make no mistake, book banning is an anathema to liberty. It is a tool of oppression, and if we really want to protect our children, if we want to ensure our democracy, we all need to be raising our voices to stop it.

“How can I be brave?” That’s the question that planted the seed for my novel, This Book Won’t Burn.

‘Life and Death Decisions in Post-Roe America’: The Ms. Q&A with Shefali Luthra

Roe v. Wade was overturned on June 24, 2022. But according to Shefali Luthra, author of Undue Burden: Life and Death Decisions in Post-Roe America, “it had been on the verge of collapse for decades.” After all, most Medicaid recipients had lost insurance coverage for the procedure in 1977 and a plethora of restrictions—from parental consent and notification requirements for minors, to mandated counseling sessions to dissuade people from ending their pregnancies—had long kept procedural abortion out of reach for large segments of the population.

Undue Burden digs into this lack of preparedness by introducing diverse people who have been directly impacted by the decision—people who have had to travel hundreds of miles to have an abortion, people whose highly-anticipated pregnancies became untenable, a trans man who became pregnant shortly after beginning his transition, and a young couple who lacked the emotional and financial resources to welcome a second child, among them. Their stories are juxtaposed with those of overwrought clinicians as well as staff at abortion funds. The result is a poignant and dramatic look at the stakes of losing Roe and a compassionate assessment of the human toll wrought by Dobbs.

From Rachel Carson to Wangari Maathai—Meet the Women Who Ignited Environmental Movements

The environmental and feminist movements have grown like stems and branches of a twisting vine or tree. Sometimes merging, sometimes growing apart. At times they have strengthened each other, yet at other times they have grown distant. Ultimately, they both address similar forces of oppression and exploitation. They share a common goal of dismantling the “status quo.” Their shared vision is the thriving of both women and nature. Climate change is not just an environmental crisis—it is a feminist crisis as well. 

April 2024 Reads for the Rest of Us

Each month, we provide Ms. readers with a list of new books being published by writers from historically excluded groups.

Here are 25 fantastic books releasing this month that we recommend you dig into. There are stunning debuts, masterful historical fiction, kaleidoscopic short stories, thoughtful manifestas, moving memoirs, groundbreaking nonfiction, and so much more.

Speaking While Female: A History

Thousands of American women have courageously spoken in public over the past four centuries. Their speeches helped shape the beliefs, culture and ideals of America. But their voices have been omitted from American history, and our storehouse of common knowledge. The same cannot be said about the many lionized male orators who appear in our history books, media, and public discourse.

I know because when I give talks and teach classes in public speaking, I ask my audience: “Which famous speakers in American history can you name?” Many people can rattle off at least half a dozen American male speakers like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr., John F. Kennedy, Robert F. Kennedy, Billy Graham and Ronald Reagan. But when I ask which women speakers they remember, there’s a long pause. Someone might mention Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama. Mostly the faces are blank.

Could it be true, I wondered, that the “great men” in history gave all the greatest speeches? Or could it be we just don’t know about great women speakers?