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Banned Books Week | Sep 22-28

Reading banned books benefits our worldview, our empathy, and our democracy.

Banned Books Week (September 22-28) brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types, to shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, a time of increased challenges, organized protests, and the Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case, which ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

Books are still being banned and challenged today. A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.

While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2018.

Of the 483 books challenged or banned in 2018, the Top 11 Most Challenged Books are:

Cover of #1: George

Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character

Cover of #2: A Day in the Life of M

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints

Cover of #3: The Adventures of Capt

Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple

Cover of #4: The Hate U Give

Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references

Cover of #5: Drama

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes

Cover of #6: Th1rteen R3asons Why:

Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide

Cover of #7: This One Summer

Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations

Cover of #8: Skippyjon Jones
Judith Byron

Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture

Cover of #9: The Absolutely True Di

Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint

Cover of #10: This Day in June
Gayle E.

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

Cover of #11: Two Boys Kissing

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

Sep 25, 2019