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Banned Books Week 2018

A grey banner with a picture of a hand holding a megaphone popping out of an open red book. There are blocks of text that read "Banning Books Silences Stories. Speak out! Banned Books Week September 23-29, 2018"

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 2017, out of 416 books that were banned or challenged. 

 

Staff Pick Logo
Thirteen Reasons Why Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781595141880
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Razorbill - June 14th, 2011

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.


Staff Pick Logo
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316013697
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 2009

Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.


Drama Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780545326995
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graphix - September 1st, 2012

This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”


The Kite Runner Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594631931
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 5th, 2013

This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”


Staff Pick Logo
George (Scholastic Gold) Cover Image
$6.99
ISBN: 9780545812573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 25th, 2017

Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.


Sex is a Funny Word: A Book about Bodies, Feelings, and YOU Cover Image
By Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (Illustrator)
$23.95
ISBN: 9781609806064
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Triangle Square - July 28th, 2015

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex educationand is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”


To Kill a Mockingbird Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780060935467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - July 5th, 2005

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.


Staff Pick Logo
The Hate U Give Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780062498533
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Balzer + Bray - February 28th, 2017

Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug useprofanity, and offensive language.


Staff Pick Logo
And Tango Makes Three Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780689878459
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers - June 1st, 2005

Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.


I Am Jazz Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780803741072
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dial Books - September 4th, 2014

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.


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