Reading Time: 3 minutes

My name is Andrea Goff, and I run a crisis PR firm in Little Rock, Arkansas. We specialize in rebranding clients that need to shift away from a toxic reputation or name, to something a little more palatable.

Recently, I’ve been flooded with requests from a new type of client:

School boards trying to institute a book ban.

All across the nation, school boards have been trying to get troublesome books off the shelves and away from impressionable young minds. But unfortunately, they’ve been getting blowback nationally from anti-banners who want to keep these books on shelves so our children can learn from them!

It makes my stomach churn.

So here’s a free, helpful guide for those brave groups across the country who are trying to fight the good fight to make sure that our children never have to learn about what a Native American is or that slavery existed. Not to mention the Holocaust.

For when you want a snazzier way of saying “but it’s not a book ban!” at your next school board meeting, try one of these instead.

  1. It’s the Parent’s Choice.

It’s a parent’s decision as to what a child gets to learn and ingest. If we parents don’t want them reading it, then that’s that. Their bodies and minds, our choice.

2. We Prefer Alternative Books. (But not that kind of alternative.)

Rather than framing it as removing books, frame it as replacing books.

Instead of Maus, children can read an equally harrowing tale in the form of Ted Nugent’s God, Guns, and Rock ‘N’ Roll.

Instead of The Color Purple, students can have the honor of reading Dinesh D’Souza’s The End of Racism.

Instead of The Autobiography of Malcolm X, students are allowed the honor of basking in Nancy Reagan’s I Love You, Ronnie.

3. Just Simple Distraction

Whenever your opponents ask about your attempts at banning books, just tell them to “look over there.” Pro tip: You might want to have something actually “over there” for them to look at to distract them long enough so you can actually remove the books.

4. We’re Cleaning Up the Libraries. Literally.

Get the sloppiest kid in your school district (ours is named Hank) and give him a bag of cheese puffs, then have him go to town on those dangerous books with his orange-dusted little fingers.

Now people will be asking you to ban those gross books!

5. We’re Just Forgetful

Inspired by this school board candidate in Maryland, just tell your community that the books are all checked out, and you swear you’ll bring them back.

6. We’re Saving Our Children from [whispers] Shariah Law

Look. These are divided times. We’ve split into different camps in this country with little hope for reconciliation.

But the one thing we can all agree on is our deep-rooted fear of Shariah law. Convince a few parent groups that the moment your kids read these books they’ll be donning a black mask and riding in the back of a Toyota pickup truck, and you’ll have no trouble with your ban. Seal the deal by penciling in a few characters’ names with “Ahmed.”

7. Book Bans Are So 2021

If all else fails, if your back is against the wall, go big or go home. Why go through the trouble and hassle of banning a book when it could so easily be set ablaze!

For the flames of a fire consume all within it, be it page or word or idea or hope. No word ever written is inedible against that red-orange maiden who wilts white to black. And the fire is an unquenchable beast that demands the inky black blood spilled from the pages of authors, dead and living, so it may annihilate their collective efforts.

Also, bonfires can be a fun community event!

Casey Karaman is a writer, performer, improviser, and teacher who has worked with the Washington Improv Theater. He has performed in multiple theater productions, most recently in Second City's production...