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Banned Books Week

Each September, librarians, teachers, and students celebrate their right to read and fight censorship by observing Banned Books Week (BBW). For 2016, Banned Books Week will occur from September 25 to October 1. Using the tagline, “Stand up for your right to read,” the 2016 Banned Books Week theme focuses on diverse content, which is defined as those resources that contain:

  • “non-white main and/or secondary characters;
  • LGBT main and/or secondary characters;
  • disabled main and/or secondary characters;
  • issues about race or racism;
  • LGBT issues;
  • issues about religion, which encompass in this situation the Holocaust and terrorism;
  • issues about disability and/or mental illness; and
  • non-Western settings, in which the West is North America and Europe”

Nine of the top ten most frequently challenged books for 2015 meet the diverse content definition including Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter and I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings. What’s your favorite from the list below?

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).
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About the Author

Allison is an Adult Services Librarian with the New Berlin Public Library... Read More »

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