When you walk inside a library, it’s not just shelves of books you see, but the vast world of storytelling. The collection embraces the unique voices of the authors and their characters, and the best collections include something for everyone. That inclusiveness is so important because we all matter when it comes to the freedom to choose what stories we want to read.
“Banning Books Silences Stories. Speak Out!” is this year’s theme for Banned Books Week (September 23-29), which was selected by the American Library Association. This is a time to celebrate and bring awareness to Intellectual Freedom and the right to read.
Gender identity, racial themes, sexual content, and profanity are just a few of the many reasons books are challenged every year. These challenged books range from classics to fairy tales, nonfiction, and today’s bestsellers. Even though books today are still being challenged, many others rise too with appeals of their own.
The American Library Association tracks these challenges. More than 400 books were challenged or banned in 2017. A few of the most frequently banned books include:
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
- To Kill a Mockingbird, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Harper Lee
As a young reader, Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was a controversial banned book. I remember fondly reading this story as well as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck—yet again, another banned book that I read at school. Books such as these have stayed with me even after all these years. These works, as well as many others, have opened up the window to a world much bigger than just you and I.
Let me say that again, “…the window to a world much bigger than just you and I.”
You may not like a particular book, and that’s okay! I have a few I’m not fond of, and that is my personal right, but it’s never a reason to restrict those titles from everyone else. Censorship hurts us all.
I’ve identified with characters and situations in banned books. I have cried over social situations in banned books. They have taught me new ways of thinking, even empathy and compassion, in a history of stories that are sometimes painful to read. Yes, there is profanity in some of the books I have read, but there is also beautiful, powerful prose within those same pages.
Whether banned book or not, I have the right to read. You have the right to read. We all have the right to read. Censorship of books tramples on those rights, and don’t we all deserve the freedom to read?
Let us not be silenced!
Information and Readers Services Department
Really - To Kill A Mocking Bird - it is on the readout vote for list of some of the BEST READS in books!!!!!!!!
Where are peoples brains.?
"Of Mice and Men" - holy cow - makes no Sense to me...
Interesting how it can be challenged as well as on a best book listing. If your interesting in seeing some of the reasons why. This link will take you to the page that will allow you to click on a specific year, and it will explain some of the challenged situations. Certainly an interesting read - Lisa
Could you explain where you get your data. Who is typically challenging books or banning books? Schools, colleges, libraries?? Thanks!
Absolutely! the data was taken from American Libraries Association. This link will take you to their data regarding frequently challenged books. On the left side, there is links to Banned Books Q&A section. http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks -Lisa
I hate the idea of a lot of the banned books. Tom Sawyer.. I loved that book when I was a kid. Sure it had racial tones. It was the time and you cant change that. It was a way of life then
I think all books are wonderful windows to the world. Banning books takes away that opportunity for the right reader. In all, how I feel is that its my personal right what I chose to read and not, I would hate for someone to choose for me, it's like being handed a chocolate assortment box and only being able to eat the toffee ones! - Lisa
Pokemon is so pose to be banned because about Pokemon once the name of the character catch a wild Pokemon
and put them in a battle and once they failed the game battle and then the doctor will tried to heal the wild Pokemon and its annoying and
It's just one more freedom being taken away in the land of the free....