Today we want to talk Banned Books! I know, it’s crazy that we live in a time where people are still trying to silence voices and make books inaccessible to other readers who may and want and need them.
I strongly believe that voices should not be silenced… you can agree or disagree with what is inside that book, but it should not be up to individuals whether a certain book is available to readers.
What’s The Difference Between A Challenged Book And A Banned Book?
I look at some of the books that are challenged on a regular basis and I struggle to make sense of this form of censorship. The good news about this is that out of the hundreds of challenges that are made every year, only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place. And we have amazing librarians, students, and readers who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read to thank for that!
What Do We Mean By Censorship?
Below you can see the top ten most challenged books in 2016 – as well as get an idea of what book themes are among the most challenged.
In 2016 there were 323 challenges! THREE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE!!! This number blows my mind for so many reasons – below you can see the top ten list!
Top Ten Challenges for 2016
- 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
- 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
- George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
- 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
- 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
- Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
- Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
- 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”
- Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
- Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
Have you read any of these titles? I have and I can’t imagine telling someone they can’t read something if they would like to.
This week, make a point to pick up some of the books that have been challenged or banned and show your support on social media using the #IReadBannedBooks #BannedBooksWeek hashtags!
(thank you to ALA.Org for the graphics and information on Banned Books!)