Banned Books Week 2017

Celebrate your freedom to read this September 24th through 30th!

“Banned Books Week” is a reminder to citizens of all ages of the detrimental impact of censorship in a democratic society. Every year hundreds of “challenges” are made by individuals and groups across the country in an effort to limit access to library or school books deemed objectionable. If a “challenge” is accepted by a library or school administration, that book will be “banned,” or in other words, removed or barred from use. As the American Library Association points out, in most cases, books that are challenged are not successfully banned–in large thanks to “the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.” This week is a celebration of that community involvement.

Every year the American Library Association compiles a list of the most frequently challenged books in schools and libraries. Out of the 323 challenges submitted to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, here are the top ten most frequently challenged in 2016:

1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes

2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint

3. George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”

4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints

5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content

6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”

7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit

8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”

9. Little Bill Series written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author

10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language

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