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Banned Books Week

Celebrate your right to read!

What Is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, www.ala.org

Banned Books Week celebrates your freedom to read! Held in September, the week brings attention to the freedom of expression and the freedom to be free of censorship. Launched by the American Booksellers Association (ABA), American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, and the National Association of College Stores in 1982, it has become an annual event. You can read more about the history of Banned Books Week at the American Library Association, Office for Intellectual Freedom, Banned Books Week page.

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2020

Below are the most challenged books of 2020:

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

Many of these books are repeat offenders! You can view past top 10 lists on the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom's Top 10 Most Challenged Books Lists. For an overview of the problem and the trends in censorship, you can view the top 100 challenged books by decade:

Banned versus Challenged Books

What is a challenge? What is a Ban?

 

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.

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