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Banned Books Week: Home

Celebrating the Freedom to Read

What is Banned Books Week?

An annual event usually held in September, Banned Books Week is a time to celebrate and promote the freedom to read.

Why are books challenged and banned?

Books are usually challenged and banned when they contain information or ideas that one group considers dangerous or harmful for another group. For example, oftentimes parents will challenge books in order to protect children from what they deem to be "inappropriate" content, whether this is in the form of topics or language.  The ALA gives the top three reasons for challenging materials as:

  1. the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
  2. the material contained "offensive language"
  3. the material was "unsuited to any age group"

- Banned Books Q&A, ALA 2017

American Library Association graphic of book covers of the top 10 challenged books of 2020

 

Online Resources

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2020

2020 Banned and Challenged 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

Resources in the Library