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September 18-24 is Banned Books Week. Celebrate the freedom to read by checking out a banned book!

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
– First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States

Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be celebrated September 18th-24th, 2022. This month, the library will be highlighting books that have been challenged or banned across the country in displays and shelf-talkers in the library.

One of the most cherished values in the library profession is fighting against censorship of any material. It is enshrined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights.

Recently, the ALA released a statement on a noticed uptick on challenges to books in libraries across the country:

We are committed to defending the constitutional rights of all individuals, of all ages, to use the resources and services of libraries. We champion and defend the freedom to speak, the freedom to publish, and the freedom to read, as promised by the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.

We stand opposed to censorship and any effort to coerce belief, suppress opinion, or punish those whose expression does not conform to what is deemed to be orthodox in history, politics, or belief. The unfettered exchange of ideas is essential to the preservation of a free and democratic society. (Source: ALA)

Banned Books Resources

ALA: Most Challenged Books

The American Library Association condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information. Every year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools.

Book Censorship Database

The EveryLibrary Institute and EveryLibrary are partnering with Dr. Tasslyn Magnusson, an independent researcher focused on the networks, organizations, and individual actors who are leading book banning and book challenge efforts in our nation’s school libraries and public libraries.

Educator and Student Resources via

A list of resources for different communities, including for students and educators, for fighting challenges and bans of books.

PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans

PEN America tracks book bans in libraries and classrooms across America in their Index of School Book Bans, updated weekly.

Most Challenged Books of 2021

Source: American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, and because it was considered to have sexually explicit images

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison

Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted for depictions of abuse and because it was considered to be sexually explicit

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, violence, and because it was thought to promote an anti-police message and indoctrination of a social agenda

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references and use of a derogatory term

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and degrading to women

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Banned and challenged because it depicts child sexual abuse and was considered sexually explicit

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

Reasons: Banned, challenged, relocated, and restricted for providing sexual education and LGBTQIA+ content.

Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

Reasons: Banned and challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and because it was considered to be sexually explicit.

More Challenged Books

Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling

Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence

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

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Reasons: challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

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”

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole

Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”


Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

Reasons: offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Reasons: insensitivity, nudity, racism, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Reason: offensive language

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

More To Explore

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