After announcing their formation earlier this year, Authors Against Book Bans (AABB), a nascent organization of creators committed to defending the freedom to read, announced its official launch this week. In a release, reps said that the group of “writers, illustrators, and creators" in both the children’s and adult sectors will work to “organize authors on the national and local levels" to support "grassroots groups already fighting book bans and challenges" around the country.

“Authors know the power of books. We know that the freedom to read and to choose books for ourselves and our families is essential to ensuring that our communities thrive,” said author David Levithan, a member of the AABB national leadership team. “The time has come for authors to come together and stand in solidarity on this issue, and the work of our growing membership is clear: we support authors whose work is challenged, and we support the teachers, librarians, families, and students who are on the front lines defending our books. They are not alone; authors stand with them.”

The AABB release said that the group’s 1,500 members span all 50 states and Washington, D.C., and will look to provide “support and encouragement for the educators, librarians, parents, and students who are the first line of defense against censorship, and for the authors whose books are under attack,” including legislative advocacy.

In April, the group’s organizers spoke to PW at length about the group’s plans. Levithan described AABB’s strategy of operating in concert with established organizations, such as PEN America and We Need Diverse Books. “We want to support the people who are leading this fight and say basically, 'We are putting together the author army, how do you want to deploy us?'" he said. "We’re following the lead of people on the grassroots who’ve done incredible work already. And I think those partnerships are key to what we’re doing.”

More than three years into a coordinated political assault on the freedom to read, Levithan told PW that a key goal of the organization is to boost morale. “We feel that a large component of this is supporting the authors who are being challenged, and the teachers and librarians and parents and students who are on the frontlines defending our books,” he said. “We’ve gotten a huge amount of feedback, saying that when we just thank them and say, ‘we see you, we appreciate what you’re doing,’ that actually emboldens them to know that they’re not alone.”

The official launch comes ahead of the American Library Association’s 2024 annual conference in San Diego, which runs June 27-July 2 in San Diego. The conference will kick off its weekend program with the second annual Rally for the Right to Read on the evening of Friday, June 28.

For more information on Authors Against Book Bans and to get involved, click here.