September 16, 2022
Each year, we take a week to celebrate and bring awareness to the freedom to read! This year, we’ll be celebrating September 18-24. The freedom to choose what we read is a fundamental right that can lead us to worlds, real or imagined. A reader has the choice to pick up any book and experience what has been created. This could be a reflection of themselves, or an open door to understanding the world around them.
In 2021, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 729 challenges to remove library, school, and university materials and services. This is the highest number of attempts since they started tracking in 2000. And these are just the ones that were registered! The real number is almost certainly higher—a scary thought.
Books have the power to connect us. And each challenge threatens to take away an opportunity to learn more about our world or to feel grounded and understood on a personal level. And unfortunately, “…the ones addressing cultural invisibility and cultivating understanding—are the ones that are most frequently challenged,” said ALA President Patricia Wong.
There are many reasons why a book is challenged or banned, including LGBTQIA+ themes, profanity, drug use, and political viewpoints. No one book is right for everyone—and that’s okay! We have the freedom to choose.
Here are ALA’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021:
Censorship divides us. Let us not be divided.
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