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St. Louis artist creates banned book mural

By Shoshana Stahl

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    ST. LOUIS, Missouri (KMOV) — A local artist is drawing more attention to banned books in Missouri.

After a new law took effect in August, some books are no longer allowed at schools in the state. David Ruggeri is taking the topic of banned books into his own hands, painting a mural outside Dunaway Books on S. Grand Blvd.

“I’m very concerned when a small group of people gets to decide who has access to what,” Ruggeri said. “Books are a powerful tool. They are able to educate and inform. By banning books, you can take a marginalized community and you can make it worse off.”

As of August, books containing sexually explicit material are not allowed on public or private school campuses in Missouri. Ruggeri is encouraging people to stay informed on what’s going on in the community.

“These are some uncomfortable topics that are being discussed,” He said. “But they’re important topics that people need to know exist in our society. This is a good opportunity to talk to your kids about what’s going on and talk about some of these topics. Then parents can guide the conversation.”

Dunaway Books employee Dan Wright told News 4 he doesn’t understand why books are being targeted.

“I’m sure they think they have good intentions but that’s a very slippery slope,” Wright said. “Once you start banning things, as history has proven, where does it stop?”

Wright is encouraging people to read some of the banned books before deciding their kids shouldn’t be reading them.

“Think for yourself and look things up for yourself before falling on either side of the fence because when you think for yourself and have your own opinion, opposed to what a group of people are saying, you’re better informed,” Wright said.

Ruggeri said the next step is to pick six book titles from the list of banned books to add to the mural. His goal is to have the mural completed by next week.

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