Banned Books Week 2017

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. 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.

Learn more about Banned Books Week on the American Library Association's website

Each year, the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.

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. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

Below are the top 10 challenged books of 2016, with reasons.


Staff Pick Logo
This One Summer Cover Image
By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki
ISBN: 9781596437746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - May 6th, 2014

Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes

Drama Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545326995
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - September 1st, 2012

Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint

Staff Pick Logo
George (Scholastic Gold) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780545812573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 25th, 2017

Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”

I Am Jazz Cover Image
ISBN: 9780803741072
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - September 4th, 2014

Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints

Two Boys Kissing Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307931917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 12th, 2015

Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content

Staff Pick Logo
Looking for Alaska Cover Image
ISBN: 9780142402511
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Speak - December 28th, 2006

Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”

Staff Pick Logo
Sex Criminals Volume 1: One Weird Trick (Sex Criminals Tp #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781607069461
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Image Comics - April 29th, 2014

Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit

Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345807120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - April 19th, 2016

Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”

The Worst Day of My Life Cover Image
By Bill Cosby, Varnette P. Honeywood (Illustrator), Alvin F. Poussaint, M.D. (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780590521901
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Scholastic - September 1st, 1999

Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author

Staff Pick Logo
Eleanor & Park Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250012579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - February 26th, 2013

Reason: challenged for offensive language


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