BANNED BOOKS WEEK - SEPT 24 - 30, 2017

In honour of Banned Books Week being this week, I figured I would post about some banned books since, at least to me, the topic of a banned book and censorship in reading is really interesting. What makes a book "banned?" Who has the authority to ban these books and what are the messages that people are missing out on by avoiding these banned books?

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to spend a minute sharing some of the books I've read and have been banned or challenged. Before I get too into this post, I just want to clarify a few things. First, the difference between a challenged book and a banned book. According to the American Library Association:
"A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection." (source)

For this year, the ALA has comprised a list of the top banned books from the past year. They include:

1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes

2. Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint

3. George by Alex Gino

Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”

4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints

5. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content

6. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”

7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky

Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit

8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”

9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood

Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author

10. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Reason: challenged for offensive language

Words Have Power. Now is not the time to be silent about censorship.

If you are interested in being an active participant in fighting against censorship, the American Library Association invites you to speak out against censorship this Banned Books Week. 

Join the Rebel Reader Twitter Tournament and challenge yourself to complete action items on Twitter to be entered into a drawing for fantastic literary prizes. 

Check out the ALA's Twitter Tournament site HERE for all the details!

I'm interested in your thoughts on banned books. Should we censor reading? Who should be able to decide what is and isn't accessible to the younger generation? Leave a comment with your thoughts!