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Banned Book Fair At UMass Boston Celebrates Diversity

BOSTON (CBS) - Books for students to hold and read, something that may not be that easy, depending on where you live.

"We went through sheets and sheets of paper that school counties were putting out saying these are the ones that were banned. We selected the ones that we thought were really good or had already read," said Honors Ambassador Sami Sanghvi.

The Banned Book Fair at UMass Boston highlights literature excluded from school libraries across the country.

"UMass Boston is one of the most diverse universities in the whole country, and a lot of these books are banned for reasons that they touch upon topics that are about diversity," said Megan Rokop, associate dean of the Honors College.

"I love books. I have a whole library at home. But I can't believe some of these are banned. They're such great books with powerful messages," said student Shelsea Jocelyn.

The University's Honors College teamed up with local nonprofit BookTalk to put on the event.

"We wanted to highlight the books that are on racial, gender and sexual issues just for our current student population; we thought it was really important," said Honors Ambassador Maddison Lessard.

That includes two books by UMass Boston professor and author, Susan Tan.

"To get a story banned is so disheartening because what it's communicating to children of color is that their stories are somehow inappropriate and the mirrors that they have in books are somehow bad or teaching a bad message," said Tan.

Twenty-four books will be on display, and students well be able to rank their top choices and enter a raffle for a chance to win one for free.

"I wish I had these books growing up, so it's really not fair to children who are in K-12 right now who don't get a chance to read this," said Sanghvi.

"We want our students to be able to read those books and we want to be able to give them out to our students for free," said Rokop.

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