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Banned Books Week: Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.

Banned Books Week

September 15, 2021

The classic 1953 science fiction novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury paints a dystopian future where books are outlawed and policed by “firemen,” who are authorized to burn any that they find. Can you imagine a world where books are banned? It’s more prevalent than you may think!

Every year, books are challenged in schools, libraries, and even bookstores. In response to these challenges, Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in order to highlight the freedom to read and bring attention to the harms of censorship. This year, Banned Books Week is September 26–October 2.

The American Library Association compiles a list of challenged books each year. In 2020 alone, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges, with 273 total books under attack.

Here are the top 10 most challenged books for 2020:

  1. George by Alex Gino.  
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds 
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely 
  4. Speak by Laurie Hales Anderson  
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie  
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin 
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee 
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck  
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison  
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas 

Common reasons for the censorship include LGBTQIA+ themes, authors’ public statements, profanity, drug use, and political viewpoints. 

We have the freedom to seek information, the freedom to read what speaks to us. Banned Books Week stands for all readers. “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Let’s not be divided!  

Lisa P.
Information and Reader Services

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