It’s our yearly celebration of banned books! Every September, the American Library Association sponsors Banned Books Week to focus on challenges to books, graphic novels, and other media in American libraries and schools. I disagree with such attempts at censorship and am proud to read banned books, which often contain the most powerful and important ideas.
There were 347 challenges recorded by the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom in 2018. Here are the most frequently challenged books (infographic courtesy of the ALA).
I have only read one book on this list, #4: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. I wrote about it last year for Banned Books week. It is a wonderful book and I really feel that high schoolers could benefit from reading it. It functions both as a commentary on current events and also as a portrait of contemporary American family life. If you are concerned about its content, try using it to start a conversation, like Starr’s father does with Tupac’s music and “THUG LIFE” concept.
Have you read any of the books from the list? What banned books have impacted your life?
Every year, the American Library Association and other groups sponsor a week-long celebration of intellectual freedom: Banned Book Week, the last week in September. The main goal of BBW is to protest censorship and acknowledge books that have been challenged, praising them for their value and meaning and their ability to change lives.
The theme this year is very meaningful in light of the #ownvoices movement, speaking to the idea that banning books takes away the voice of authors and readers who are seeking to validate their own identities and experiences through fiction.
Did you know that books are challenged in schools and libraries every year? In 2017, there were 354 challenges, up from 323 in 2016. Here are the top 10 most challenged books from the last year.
It is an interesting mix; the majority of the books deal with racial or LGBT+ content. There are classics, such as To Kill a Mockingbird, which was also included in PBS’s Great American Read list. And there are some brand new books, such as The Hate U Give. This is a very interesting inclusion because it was only published in February of last year, yet it already made the most challenged list. That says to me that it is a powerful book, which is certainly corroborated by the number of awards it has won.
As a parent myself, I understand the instinct to want to shield our kids from anything upsetting or dangerous, thinking that they are not prepared to handle it. But drug use and police shootings are facts of life, and how will kids ever be prepared to handle these concepts if they don’t first read and think about them? We are not required to agree with the viewpoint of everything we read; in fact, we can better understand our own feelings and opinions by reading points of view that challenge them.
The Hate U Give has a lot to offer readers of all ages, including a fresh, young, authentic voice in its protagonist Starr. I love Starr’s progression as she processes her grief and trauma, finding her voice and speaking out for justice with courage. I really recommend it, and I’m looking forward to the movie adaptation coming out next month, too.
Have you guys read any of these (or other) banned books? Which is your favorite?
This week (September 24-30, 2017) is the annual Banned Books Week, sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and others. The ALA has a department called the Office for Intellectual Freedom, which records “challenges” to books in public schools, libraries, etc. every year. Last year in 2016 there were 323 challenges.
There are many reasons why books are challenged; here’s the list of the ten most frequently challenged books last year, along with why they were challenged.
Several of these books I can understand may not be appropriate for certain age levels. I always support parents taking an interest in what their kids are reading. However, that does not give someone the right to determine what other parents’ kids are reading, and that is what censorship does. Banning or removing books takes away our freedom to information, our freedom to read what we want.
Have you read any of the top ten banned books? Any other challenged books you are reading? Here’s some more info about book challenges in the US.
It’s Banned Books Week! This event, which takes place this year from September 25-October 1, celebrates our freedom to read and brings attention to the harms of censorship.
Last year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 275 challenges to literature around the country (down from 311 in 2014). Here’s the list of the top ten most challenged books last year.
Of the top ten list, I have only read the Bible (not the whole thing; I’m Catholic ~_^). I love the note that someone challenged it because it was “illegal.” I must assume that this was in a public school. I would still support the critical study of the Bible as literature in a public school setting, along with other religious texts, in a pertinent class.
This week, I am reading the graphic novel V for Vendetta. To my knowledge this book has not been banned (thought China did not allow the release of the 2006 movie adaptation), but it is still very appropriate because of its condemnation of government censorship. While we here in the US are lucky to have our freedoms protected by the First Amendment, we must still be careful before allowing other citizens to decide what it okay for us and our children to read. That decision is best left in the hands of the reader, or their guardians.
Knowledge, like air, is vital to life. Like air, no one should be denied it.
There’s no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill. There’s only an idea. Ideas are bulletproof.
–V (Alan Moore, V for Vendetta)
Have you read any of these books? Which is your favorite? Are you reading any banned books this week?
Celebrate Banned Books Week with me! According to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, there were 311 challenges to books last year. Check out the infographic below for 2014’s list of top 10 challenged books, plus a bunch of other info.
There are three graphic novels on the list this year: Persepolis, Drama, and the Saga series. (Korean manhwa The Color of Earth has also been on the list previously.) Graphic novels are an interesting case. People who are unfamiliar with them may see “comics” and assume that children are the intended audience when that is not always the case. And the visuality of the medium sometimes makes things that might not be so racy in a written book seem much more…graphic.
I absolutely adore Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. You can read my previous thoughts on it here. To be honest, its content is very adult and I would be hesitant to include it in a high school library collection or assign it for a class unless there were a specific reason a teacher wanted to teach it.
Public libraries are a different story; I first read Saga by checking it out of my local public library—I found it in the section specifically for adult graphic novels, distinct from the comic/manga section in the young adult area. I think that kind of labeling is useful because it helps readers (and parents of readers) make an informed decision about the kind of content they are selecting.
I am tickled by the fact that one of the reasons for challenging Saga is that it is “anti-family.” I think most people who have read it would agree that it is, in fact, very pro-family. The cover of issue 1, shown on the infographic below, depicts the main characters Alana and Marko (a married couple) and their infant daughter Hazel (who narrates the story). Much of the story has to do with them struggling to keep their family together in the face of racism and war. What is more pro-family than that?
I have just picked up Persepolis from the library and will be reading it this week. Are you reading any “banned” books right now, or have you in the past? What is your favorite book on the 2014 challenged list?