How to watch LeVar Burton at the L.A. Times Book Club

What do inaugural poet Amanda Gorman, novelist Jodi Picoult and children’s author Judy Blume have in common?

Book bans.

All three writers were shocked to find their work abruptly removed from library shelves amid the nation’s dramatic surge in book banning.

What other books are being censored? What’s driving these challenges? What can students, parents, teachers and librarians do in their communities?

On Wednesday night, actor and author LeVar Burton joins the L.A. Times Book Club to discuss the State of Banned Books.

Starting at 7 p.m. PT, you can watch Burton in conversation with Times editor Steve Padilla live on YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Sign up on Eventbrite for watch links.

Presented in partnership with Arizona State University, this in-person book club night in Los Angeles is sold out. But you can join for free from home virtually and share your comments and questions on Twitter @latimes or by email to

Burton is an actor, author and founder of “Reading Rainbow,” the award-winning PBS series that introduced generations of children to the love of reading from 1983 to 2006. He is also known for his roles as Kunta Kinte in “Roots” and Geordi La Forge on “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” and the third season of “Picard.”

An executive producer behind the new documentary “The Right to Read,” Burton says reading is not only a tool that unlocks doors to success but also a civil right.

The surge in book bans is the latest front in a long-running battle. The American Library Assn. reports that in 2022 a record 1,269 demands were made to restrict or ban books and other materials in schools and libraries — up from 156 in 2020. Many of the targeted books deal with LGBTQ+ topics or race.

“Large swaths of books, sometimes even entire school or classroom libraries are being removed,” says Allison Lee, Los Angeles director of PEN America.

Every month, the Los Angeles Times Book Club hosts community discussions with authors and newsmakers and invites readers to join the conversation.

On June 8, actor Elliot Page will discuss his upcoming memoir “Pageboy” at the Montalban Theatre in Hollywood. Get tickets.

On July 19, author Luis Alberto Urrea will discuss his novel, “Good Night, Irene,” a story inspired by his mother’s service on the front lines of World War II. Get tickets.

Sign up for the book club newsletter for the latest books, news and live events.

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