• By J.White
  • Posted Sunday, September 27, 2015

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2015: September 27-October 3

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.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. 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.

The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 are:

  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  2. Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
    Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  3. And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  4. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  5. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it[s] child pornography”
  6. Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
    Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  7. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
  9. A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
  10. Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: sexually explicit

"Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association."

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