Every year, during the last week of September, the American Library Association and Amnesty International run a campaign called Banned Books Week. Its purpose is to celebrate the freedom to read by highlighting books that have received challenges. This means an attempt has been made to remove them from school curriculum or public libraries, thereby controlling access to certain materials and the flow of information.

What can you do? First of all, keep reading.

You can also:

1. Send a postcard of support to a banned author through the Dear Banned Author project here. They provide the addresses of banned and challenged authors and even have printable postcard templates.

2. Attend a Stand for the Banned Read-Out by reading and/or discussing banned and challenged books in a video and submitting it to the ALA here. You could be featured on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel!

3. Learn more about why and how books are banned, how students have stood up for their freedom to read, and what more you can do with a free webinar provided by the ALA here.

4. Educate yourself about your rights with this handy dandy guide.

5. It seems obvious, but…go check out some banned books and decide for yourself what you think! Here’s a list of the top 11 most challenged books of 2018, according to the ALA:

Here’s the full Top Eleven Most Challenged Books list:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
  3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references
  5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations
  8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
    Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content


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