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Banned Books Week 2019

Censorship keeps us in the dark. Keep the light on. Image of a light bulb reading a book.

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 11 challenged books of 2018, out of 483 books that were banned or challenged. 

 

Staff Pick Badge
George (Scholastic Gold) Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780545812573
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - April 25th, 2017

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


Last Week Tonight with John Oliver Presents A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo (Better Bundo Book, LGBT Children’s Book) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781452173801
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - March 18th, 2018

Banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints


The Adventures of Captain Underpants (Captain Underpants #1) Cover Image
By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (Illustrator), Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (Illustrator)
$5.99
ISBN: 9780590846288
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Paperbacks - September 1st, 1997

The Captain Underpants 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.


Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot (Captain Underpants #12) Cover Image
By Dav Pilkey, Dav Pilkey (Illustrator), Dav Pilkey
$9.99
ISBN: 9780545504928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scholastic Inc. - August 25th, 2015

The Captain Underpants 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.


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

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


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

Banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes


Staff Pick Badge
Thirteen Reasons Why Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9781595141880
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Razorbill - June 14th, 2011

Banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide


Staff Pick Badge
This One Summer Cover Image
By Jillian Tamaki (Illustrator), Mariko Tamaki
$18.99
ISBN: 9781596437746
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - May 6th, 2014

Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations


Skippyjon Jones Cover Image
By Judy Schachner, Judy Schachner (Illustrator)
$6.99
ISBN: 9780142404034
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Puffin Books - April 7th, 2005

Challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture


Staff Pick Badge
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316013697
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - April 1st, 2009

Banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint


This Day in June Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9781433816598
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Magination Press - June 30th, 2014

Challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content


Two Boys Kissing Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780307931917
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - May 12th, 2015

Challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content