Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read
This year, the focus of Banned Books Week is on diversity.
“It is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. This year’s Banned Books Week will celebrate literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.”
What does “diverse” mean in this context? Author Malinda Lo defines it as:
“non-white main and/or secondary characters; LGBT main and/or secondary characters; disabled main and/or secondary characters; issues about race or racism; LGBT issues; issues about religion, which encompass in this situation the Holocaust and terrorism; issues about disability and/or mental illness; non-Western settings, in which the West is North America and Europe.”
Indeed, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015 reflect many kinds of diversity. Click on any of the links below to read more about each book in the library catalog, and request any you’re interested in.
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter
- Habibi by Craig Thompson
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
Have you read one of these, or another frequently challenged title? Come tell us about it at the reference desk and get an “I READ BANNED BOOKS” button (while supplies last).
Next: “Banned Books” is a bit of a misnomer, since books aren’t banned in this country as often as they are “challenged” (for example, moved from the children’s or teen area of the library to the adult section, or removed from a school’s required reading list). Internationally, however, censorship remains an issue. We’ll collect a few related stories from around the world – a reminder of the importance of the freedom to read.