Local small business owner Ariel Hakim, who describes herself as “a Reform MFA living in Northeast Ohio,” has been reading banned books for over 25 years now. she just started Forbidden Books Box, a new monthly subscription box service to “stand alongside banned authors, express love of reading and justice, and support small businesses”.
Each month, subscribers will receive two banned books published in the past decade. Most are literary award winners and all are worthy of a distinguished shelf. There will also be a pin inspired by one of the books in the box, information on book bans, and at least one other book article to love and enjoy.
“I worked at the Wadsworth Library behind the reference desk,” Hakim said in a recent telephone interview. “I was doing this for a little while and part of the job was staying on top of the library world. We received various magazines and I became interested in the bans on books I read. One of the first where I noticed the children’s books that were about a drag queen story that people were offended by. Many children’s books have caught my attention, and I have small children. The more I leaned over the book bans, the more I felt saddened by what was going on. I am amazed. I think this is something people need to know. I am targeting readers. The better press the authors have, the better.
The December Box will feature banned author Maia Kobabe, who personally contributed signed bookplates featuring the comic as an ornament to the graphic novel Homosexual gender. Kobabe also created an original design for a limited edition Homosexual gender– a themed enamel pin, only available in Banned Books Box.
“Maia wrote this graphic novel that parents of high school students found in the school library and completely expressed how offended they are by some of the images,” Hakim explains. “Maia wrote it to explain to family members what non-binary means. Maia came out as queer and then several years as non-binary. When I decided this was the book I wanted to use , I emailed the agent to see how to get books signed, and we got some plates, and then Maia designed an enamel pin that will be one of the pieces in the bookbox. J love the book very much, and I think it is entertaining and educational. I love memoirs. Just reading someone else’s story written sincerely is something I will always appreciate .
The December box set also includes a novel that has been paired multiple times with Homosexual gender in complaints from parents to school boards. Both books received the Alex Awards from the American Library Association, an honor that recognizes adult titles with special appeal to young adults ages 12 to 18.
Registrations for the December box end on December 12. Banned Books Box guarantees that its December box will arrive in time for Christmas. Banned Books Box bills monthly and subscribers can cancel at any time.