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This September 22nd through 28th is officially Banned Books Week, the annual awareness campaign promoted by the American Library Association (ALA) and Amnesty International. Banned Books Week was launched in the 1980s, partially in response to a U.S. Supreme Court case ruling that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content. The ALA says that part of the celebration is of the fact that "in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read."
Another part of the campaign is to spread awareness that books are still being banned and challenged today.
What does that mean? A ban in this context is the removal of a book for its content. Challenges are attempts to either remove or restrict books based upon the objections of a person or group.
Statistics and Stories
For 2018, the ALA tracked 347 challenges of 483 books in libraries and education services across the U.S. The top eleven most challenged books from last year:
1. George by Alex Gino
2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
3. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
5. Drama by Raina Telgemeier
6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
8. Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner
9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
The ALA also shares the Frequently Challenged Books in the U.S. by decade or type.
Meanwhile, in honor of the Week, Amnesty International spotlighted 11 relevant incidents from across the world.
So, what are you reading this week?
edited Sep 24, 2019 message to add series touchstones