Banned Books Week 2018: Banning Books Silences Stories

Our catalog, online resources, and library accounts may be unavailable on Friday, September 28th, between 2 a.m. - 6 a.m. while we work on a catalog upgrade.

Speak out against censorship! Every year there are hundreds of attempts to remove books or restrict materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores based on the objections of a person or group. Silencing stories threatens our democratic freedom of open access to diverse ideas and information. 

Banned Books Week 2018 is September 2329. Celebrate your freedom by reading a challenged book! Take a Book Selfie and share it with us using the hashtag #BannedBooksWeek18.

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association, ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/NLW-Top10  

Take a look at this year’s top 10 challenged books of 2017 and check our catalog for availability.

The American Library Association’s Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017 

Descriptions of challenged books courtesy of the American Library Association, ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10  

1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

 

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

 

3. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”

 

4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

 

5. George by Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino

Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

 

6. Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

 

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

 

8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

 

9. And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.

 

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

I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

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