Ohioan launches ‘Banned Books Box’ subscription service

The first month’s box will include a copy of ‘Gender Queer,’ along with a lapel pin designed by creator Maia Kobabe.

Ariel Hakim, a librarian former library reference associate in Northeast Ohio, has put a timely spin on the subscription box idea with the Banned Books Box, which delivers banned books and graphic novels to your door each month.

And December’s selection couldn’t come at a better time; it’ll feature Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, a graphic novel that has been making headlines recently in Virginia, Michigan and Florida as school districts face a barrage of criticism from overzealous parents for including it on their library shelves. (Kobabe recently responded to critics in a write-up published by the Washington Post).

“Maia wrote this graphic novel that parents of high schoolers have found in the school library and been completely vocal about how offended they are by some of the images,” Hakim told Cleveland Scene. “Maia wrote it to explain to family members about what non-binary means. Maia came out as queer and then several years as non-binary. When I decided that this was the book I wanted to use, I emailed the agent to see about getting signed books, and we got some book plates, and then Maia designed an enamel pin that will be one of the pieces of the book box. I like the book a lot, and I think it’s entertaining and educational. I love memoirs. Just reading anyone else’s story written in a sincere way is something I will always enjoy.”

In addition to a copy of Gender Queer, the December Banned Book Box will also include:

  • A second Alex Award-winning banned book, which they tease as “a coming-of-age story about a guy The New York Times Book Review describes as  ‘a Holden Caulfield for a new millennium.'” A little internet sleuthing seems to suggest its this book.
  • A lapel pin designed by Kobabe.
  • A bookmark that explains how and why the books in the box were censored.
  • One additional mystery item that they say “you’ll either adore for its whimsicality or find particularly useful.”

You can visit the Banned Books Box website for more information. A subscription will cost you $46 a month, with free shipping.

Update: Hakim contacted us to clarify that she is not a librarian; she worked as a library reference associate in Ohio. I’ve edited the story to reflect that.

2 thoughts on “Ohioan launches ‘Banned Books Box’ subscription service”

  1. Hi JK! Thanks for publishing this. Can I correct a misconception, though? I am not a librarian. I worked at a library as a reference associate, but I was only a librarian in the most general sense, as in someone who works at a library. My degrees are a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing.

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