Category: resources

ICYMI: Gene Luen Yang, Portugal The Man, and Alex Gino Talk Censorship

We were delighted to host three amazing virtual events this week, with free expression superstars Gene Luen Yang, Cody Miller, Jung Kim, Portugal The Man, Alex Gino, and Peter Coyl! In case you missed it, we have the details and videos below.

Banned Books Week, the National Council for Teachers of English, and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund spoke with Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops, Superman Smashes the Klan) and educators Cody Miller and Jung Kim about censorship, the importance of diverse literature, and the use of comics in classrooms.

Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Zach Carothers and Eric Howk of Portugal The Man joined Banned Books Week and the National Coalition Against Censorship to discuss the protest when the Matanuska-Susitna (Mat-Su) Borough School Board, which oversees schools in the band’s hometown of Wasilla, Alaska, voted to remove five classic novels from the 11th grade reading list. Through their charitable non-profit, PTM Foundation, Portugal The Man helped provide thousands of copies of the banned books to students in the district.

Acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino joined Banned Books Week, ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, and Peter Coyl (Director, Montclair Public Library) for a discussion about the censorship of Gino’s award-winning middle grade novel George, which led ALA OIF’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books lists for 2019 and 2018. We also discussed the importance of access to information for young readers and representation on the shelf.

Wrap Up Banned Books Week Virtually!

It may be the last day of Banned Books Week, but it’s not too late to take part in the fun! You can write your favorite banned author (here’s a good place to start if you’re having a hard time deciding who you want to write to), thank your favorite free speech defender, Stand for the Banned in the virtual read-out, or use our customizable downloads to share your favorite banned books and trivia!

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: October 2

We’re telling “Scary Stories” with today’s Banned Books Week events spotlight, which includes a watch party with Cody Meirick, the director of the documentary that digs into the impact of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz. Keep reading for more on today’s Banned Books Week events!

Comics: “Are These Real Books?”

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics.

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

6:00 pm – 8:30 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the American Library Association for a national watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary that digs into the history and impact of the banned book “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz. After the film join us on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel for a Q&A with the director, Cody Meirick.

Virtual Banned Books Week Bingo

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT
Virtual Event

Celebrate “Banned Books Week” with book-themed online bingo! Players can try to win by being the first person to mark 5 titles of banned or challenged books in a row (going up or down, left or right, or diagonally). Book titles will include those for children, tweens/teens, and adults. Learn more about Banned Books Week … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: October 1

Happy Banned Books Week day 5! The celebration of the right to read might be heading toward it’s end, but censorship never stops! Learn about censorship in the comics industry with Image Comics and ALA, enjoy a performance of City Lit Theater’s Books on the Chopping Block, and more in today’s happening. And don’t forget you can still join the celebration on social media! Read on for details.

(Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

It’s not just libraries that have banned comics – sometimes it’s the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics) and other panelists in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues … Read More

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (Mount Prospect Library)

7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Celebrate your freedom to read by joining us for a virtual presentation of dramatic readings by City Lit Theater Company featuring the American Library Association’s list of top 10 most challenged books of 2019. City Lit has performed this annual event since 2006 and is excited to showcase these books and to engage with you … Read More

Censura em Brasília durante a Ditadura Militar – Censorship in Brasília during the Military Dictatorship

6:00 pm – 7:30 pm -03
Virtual Event

Lecture about censorship of books and the press in Brasília during the Military Dictatorship (1964 -1985). Content result of postdoctoral research.

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 30

We’ve hit the midway point of Banned Books Week, and we’re hitting a high point today with our Alex Gino (George) Facebook Live event! Today is packed, with an ALA / Image Comics panel on the Black people in comics, City Lit Theater’s Books on the Chopping Block, events with BBW Coalition members Index on Censorship and PEN America, and so much more! Read on for details…

Alex Gino, Live with Banned Books Week and ALA OIF!

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page … Read More

Black People in Comics

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in a conversation on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the … Read More

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (DePaul University)

1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books … Read More

Resisting Self-Censorship

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST
Virtual Event

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder and the resultant global Black Lives Matter protests, it has been clearer than ever before that the voices of some are prioritised to the exclusion of others. As part of Banned Books Week 2020 – an annual celebration of the freedom to read – Index is partnering with … Read More

Calling In, Calling Out and What Difference Does it Make?: Whose Speech is Free?

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm EDT
Virtual Event

This event is part of “Free Expression and the Humanities,” a series jointly sponsored by PEN America and the Institute of the Humanities & Global Cultures at the University of Virginia. Participants: Marlene L. Daut, Professor & Associate Director, Carter G. Woodson Institute, UVA Meredith D. Clark, Assistant Professor, Media Studies, UVA Tamika Carey, Associate … Read More

Banned Book Club: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

8:00 am – 5:30 pm EDT
244 Frazer Fir Rd., South Windsor, CT

Celebrate Banned Books Week by reading and discussing The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time! We’ll also talk about why this is a “banned book.” Meet facilitator Cynde Acanto at The Pond at Barber Hill, 244 Frazer Fir Rd., South Windsor. Bring your mask & chair. Please practice social distancing. This event will … Read More

Hong Kong Against the Odds

5:00 pm – 6:30 pm PDT
Virtual Event

The Los Angeles Review of Books invites you to join us for an urgent conversation about the ongoing protest movement in Hong Kong, its place on the international stage, and where Hong Kong might go from here. Over the last 18 months, protesters have gathered in world-historic numbers to demonstrate against state violence and what they … Read More

Banned Books Trivia

6:30 pm – 8:00 pm MDT
Virtual Event

ACLU Montana, Belgrade Community Library, Bozeman Public Library, Country Bookshelf, Friends of MSU Library, and MSU Library partner to host a virtual Banned Book Trivia event.

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 29

We’re hitting the third day of Banned Books Week running! Don’t miss Portugal. The Man, live with NCAC and the Banned Books Week Coalition; SAGE Publishing’s conversation about COVID-19 and academic censorship, and so much more! Keep reading for details…

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Live with Banned Books Week & NCAC!

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship at 6:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Portugal. The Man! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the NCAC Facebook … Read More

COVID-19 and Academic Censorship

9:00 am – 10:00 am PDT
Virtual Event

What does censorship look like in a fully online world? Our experiences dealing with COVID-19 have increased – and in many ways complicated – interactions with open data, internet control, and e-book access. What have we learned about censorship in academia as a result? In this hour-long webinar, taking place during Banned Books Week, panelists … Read More

Banned through Comics Metadata!?

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record … Read More

Banned Books Week: Whose Voices Are Still Being Censored?

2:00 pm – 3:00 pm BST
Virtual Event

This event is FREE for all. Please register here. Banned Books Week 2020 (28 September–2 October) takes place four months after George Floyd’s murder led to a global resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement, and three months after the publication of the Rethinking Diversity in Publishing report, which demonstrated the particular challenges writers of colour … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

BBW Events Spotlight: September 28

Looking for something to do today? Don’t miss the Banned Books Week Coalition’s conversation with Gene Luen Yang, a look at the Comics Code Authority and rating systems, and a look back at the life of Neal Cassady.

Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT
BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION Virtual Event

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)! During this hourlong event, Yang will converse with NCTE member leaders and … Read More

Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems

12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT
Virtual Event

Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with a member of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership. Register here. ALA Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table and … Read More

Presentation with Jami Cassady

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT
Virtual Event

Through stories and memorabilia from the Neal Cassady Estate, Jami Cassady will discuss the life of her father and the pivotal role that he played in the Beat Generation, the ’60s Counterculture, and 20th century literature. Register for this virtual presentation at https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/regi…/2673011033281638156 You’ll receive a link to easily connect to the discussion from any … Read More

Celebrate on Social Media All Week Long!

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables hereMore…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

Happy Banned Books Week! Here Are Some Ways to Join the Fun…

Banned Books Week is finally here! We have a rundown of virtual events and the many, many ways you can participate in the celebration on social media! Censorship is a dead end — find your freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3!

BBW Coalition Events

Join Creator Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)! The event will broadcast live with  NCTE on Facebook. More…

PORTUGAL. THE MAN, Live with Banned Books Week & NCAC!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Coalition Against Censorship at 6:00 p.m. EDT, September 29, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with Grammy Award-winning musicians and free expression heroes Portugal. The Man! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the NCAC Facebook pageMore…

Don’t Miss Alex Gino, Live with Banned Books Week and ALA OIF!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom at 1:00 p.m. CDT, September 30, for an exclusive Facebook Live event with acclaimed and award-winning author Alex Gino! The event celebrates Banned Books Week, which takes place September 23 – October 3, 2020, and will broadcast live on the Banned Books Week Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/). More…

Coalition Member Events

September 27

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (ALA Facebook Live)

Books on the Chopping Block is our annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts taken from these books. City Lit has teamed up with the ALA in celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, performing at special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago…and virtually this year. More…

September 28

Censorship: The Comics Code Authority & Rating Systems

Alex Cox (Image Comics) in conversation with a member of the Intellectual Freedom Round Table on the history of the Comics Code Authority and its impact on comics censorship. This discussion will also touch on how current ratings systems and library classifications can impact readership. Register here. More…

September 29

COVID-19 and Academic Censorship

On Sept. 29, SAGE Publishing and OIF will host the free webinar “COVID-19 and Academic Censorship,” which will address e-books, internet control, and open data. The free webinar is limited to the first 1,000 guests. Register here. More…

Banned through Comics Metadata!?

Librarians Allison Bailund (San Diego State University), Hallie Clawson (University of Washington Information School), and Rotem Anna Diamant (Canada Comics Open Library) in conversation with Brittany Netherton (Darien Public Library) on how the metadata of comics can limit and grant access to comics. From proper crediting of creators to the details of a catalog record – comics metadata creates access. Moderated by Brittany Netherton, Head of Knowledge and Learning Services, Darien Library. Register here. More…

September 30

Black People in Comics

Valentine De Landro (Bitch Planet, X-Factor), Johnnie Christmas (Tartatus, Sheltered) and Chuck Brown (Bitter Root) in a conversation on how Black people have been historically portrayed in comics, from the obstacles of integrating Black characters into mainstream and superhero comics to present day works, issues Black creators face working in the comics industry, and the importance of non-white characters existing on the comics page. Moderated by Tamela Chambers, Librarian and Public Library Chair the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA). Register here. More…

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (DePaul University)

Books on the Chopping Block is our annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts taken from these books. City Lit has teamed up with the ALA in celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, performing at special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago…and virtually this year. More…

October 1

(Un)Welcome to the Comics Industry

It’s not just libraries that have banned comics – sometimes it’s the comics industry itself. Chloe Ramos (Image Comics) and other panelists in conversation with Dan Wood (Escondido Public Library) will discuss how harassment serves as a form of censorship within the industry by creating unsafe and unwelcoming environments, and how awareness of these issues is important for librarians to understand. Register here. More…

City Lit Theater Company Presents: Books on the Chopping Block (Mount Prospect Library)

Celebrate your freedom to read by joining us for a virtual presentation of dramatic readings by City Lit Theater Company featuring the American Library Association’s list of top 10 most challenged books of 2019. City Lit has performed this annual event since 2006 and is excited to showcase these books and to engage with you about censorship and the freedom to read during a Q&A session following the readings. More…

October 2

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

On Oct. 2, OIF will host a national watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary about the banned and challenged series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz, followed by a Q&A with director Cody Meirick on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Libraries and readers are invited to stream the documentary on Tubi or Amazon Prime at 6 p.m. CST and join the conversation on Twitter using #CensorshipisScary or on the Facebook event page. Libraries are invited to host their own watch parties as a Banned Books Week program; more details are available at ala.org/bbooks/scarystories.

Comics: “Are These Real Books?”

Charles Soule (Undiscovered Country, Daredevil) in conversation with Matthew Noe (GNCRT President-Elect) on why comics so often wind up on annual most challenged books lists, what comics are most often challenged, and what you can do to overcome negative opinions of comics. Register here. More…

Celebrate on Social Media

Customizable Downloads

Make your own Banned Books Week assets for social media! We have several different formats of our main banner that you can add your own information to, or you can share your favorite banned books and trivia with our customizable digital shelftalkers! Check out the entire set or downloadables here. More…

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

Join Creator Gene Luen Yang, Live with Banned Books Week and NCTE!

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition and the National Council of Teachers of English at 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28 for a special Banned Books Week Facebook Live event with author Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Boxers & Saints, Dragon Hoops)!

During this hourlong event, Yang will converse with NCTE member leaders Henry “Cody” Miller and Jung Kim, as well as moderators Lisa Fink (NCTE) and Karen Evans (Education Coordinator, CBLDF) about the censorship of his work, examine the importance of diverse literature, and discuss the use of comics in classrooms. You’ll have a chance to ask your questions during a short Q&A. (We will try to get to as many of your questions as we can!)

How will this work?

  1. Make sure you like NCTE on Facebook.
  2. At 5:00 p.m. CDT on September 28, go to Facebook and look at the News Feed.
  3. Click Watch in the Navigation Panel on the left. (Click See More if you don’t see Watch in the list.)
  4. After clicking Watch, click Live in the Navigation Panel on the left.

You can also go directly to facebook.com/live to access Facebook livestreams or the video section of NCTE’s Facebook page to access the event.

About Gene Luen Yang

Gene Luen Yang writes, and sometimes draws, comic books and graphic novels. As the Library of Congress’ fifth National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, he advocated for the importance of reading, especially reading diversely. American Born Chinese, his first graphic novel from First Second Books, was a National Book Award finalist, as well as the winner of the Printz Award and an Eisner Award. His two-volume graphic novel Boxers & Saints won the L.A. Times Book Prize and was also a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man (with various artists), Superman Smashes the Klan (with Gurihiru), the Avatar: The Last Airbender series (with Gurihiru), and Dragon Hoops. In 2016, Yang was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow.

About Henry “Cody” Miller

Henry “Cody” Miller is an assistant professor of English education at SUNY Brockport. He is a former high school English teacher. Cody currently acts as the chair of the National Council of Teachers of English LGBTQ advisory board.

About Jung Kim

Jung Kim, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Literacy, mother, ultrarunner, 1.5 generation Korean American, and #AsAmAF. A former high school English teacher and literacy coach, she writes about Asian American teachers, graphic novels, and equity. Her second co-authored book on teaching with graphic novels, Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom, is out from Bloomsbury Press on October 1.

About NCTE

The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) supports teachers and their students in classrooms, on college campuses, and in online learning environments. For more than 100 years, NCTE has worked with its members to offer journals, publications, and resources; to further the voice and expertise of educators as advocates for their students at the local and federal levels; and to share lesson ideas, research, and teaching strategies through its Annual Convention and other professional learning events.

About the Banned Books Week Coalition

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Meet the Banned Books Week Coalition!

Banned Books Week is almost here! If you’re looking for someone to respond to press inquiries; someone to take part in your programming; information about censorship in schools, libraries, bookstores, and more; or ways to report censorship, the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help. Keep reading to learn more about our amazing member organizations!

American Booksellers Association: The American Booksellers for Free Expression

  • ABFE 24-hour hotline (First Amendment emergencies): (845) 242-8605
  • Press inquiries: David Grogan

American Library Association: Office for Intellectual Freedom

Association of University Presses

Comic Book Legal Defense Fund

  • First Amendment emergency hotline: (888) 88-CBLDF (22533)
  • Press inquiries: info@cbldf.org

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)

Freedom to Read Foundation

Index on Censorship

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Council of Teachers of English

People for the American Way Foundation

Banned Books Week Contributors

American Society of Journalists and Authors

Founded in 1948, the American Society of Journalists and Authors is the nation’s professional organization of independent nonfiction writers. Our membership consists of outstanding freelance writers of magazine articles, trade books, and many other forms of nonfiction writing, each of whom has met ASJA’s exacting standards of professional achievement. https://asja.org/

The Authors Guild

The Authors Guild is the nation’s oldest and largest professional organization for writers. Since its beginnings over a century ago, we have served as the collective voice of American authors. Our members include novelists, historians, journalists, and poets—traditionally and independently published—as well as literary agents and representatives of writers’ estates. The Guild advocates for authors on issues of copyright, fair contracts, free speech, and tax fairness, and has initiated lawsuits in defense of authors’ rights, where necessary. https://www.authorsguild.org/

PEN America

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America, founded in 1922, is the largest of more than 100 centers of PEN International. For more than 90 years, we have been working together with our colleagues in the international PEN community to ensure that people everywhere have the freedom to create literature, to convey information and ideas, to express their views, and to make it possible for everyone to access the views, ideas, and literatures of others. https://pen.org/

Project Censored

Project Censored educates students and the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government. We expose and oppose news censorship, and we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy, and critical thinking. An informed public is crucial to democracy in at least two basic ways. First, without access to relevant news and opinion, people cannot fully participate in government. Second, without media literacy, people cannot evaluate for themselves the quality or significance of the news they receive. Censorship undermines democracy. Project Censored’s work—including our annual book, weekly radio broadcasts, campus affiliates program, and additional community events—highlights the important links among a free press, media literacy and democratic self-government. https://www.projectcensored.org/


Banned Books Week is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Celebrate Banned Books Week Virtually!

Banned Books Week is fast approaching, but thanks to virtual programming and social media, you still have time to join the celebration September 27-October 3!

While you may not be able to hold in-person events, there are plenty of ways to engage your patrons and students using videoconferencing, webinars, and social media! Some ideas and Banned Books Week Coalition resources follow to help guide your planning!

Check back at bannedbooksweek.org or follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get more resources, find out about our events

Resources and Virtual Events From ALA OIF

ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has programs you can participate in during Banned Books Week! A quick rundown follows, but you can find out more here.

OIF has additional program ideas in the Intellectual Freedom Blog posts “40 Virtual Program Ideas for Banned Books Week” and “Banned Books Week Take Home Kits.”

#BannedBooksWeek in Action

Each day of Banned Books Week, OIF will promote a different action that spotlights literary activism. Titled #BannedBooksWeek in Action, readers are encouraged to share their activities on social media with the hashtag, focusing on the following daily topics:

  • Sunday: Read a banned book 
  • Monday: Speak out about censorship 
  • Tuesday: Create something unrestricted 
  • Wednesday: Express the freedom to read in style 
  • Thursday: Write about your rights 
  • Friday: Watch, listen, and learn from others 
  • Saturday: Thank those who defend the freedom to read every day of the year

Dear Banned Author

The annual Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to write, tweet or email their favorite banned/challenged author during Banned Books Week. Postcards, author addresses and Twitter handles, and tips for hosting virtual programs can be found at ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. Examples of letters and programs are published on the Intellectual Freedom Blog. Those who use #DearBannedAuthor on Twitter will be entered into a grand prize drawing of Banned Books Week merchandise. Details and Official Rules are listed on the Dear Banned Author webpage. 

Stand for the Banned Read-Out

Since the inception of Banned Books Week in 1982, libraries and bookstores throughout the country have staged local read-outs of banned and challenged books. The Stand for the Banned Read-Out invites readers to submit brief videos of themselves reading from a banned book or discussing censorship. Submitted videos may be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel.

OIF Webinars and Watch Parties

On Sept. 29, SAGE Publishing and OIF will host the free webinar “COVID-19 and Academic Censorship,” which will address e-books, internet control, and open data. The free webinar is limited to the first 1,000 guests. 

On Oct. 2, OIF will host a national watch party of “Scary Stories,” a documentary about the banned and challenged series “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” by Alvin Schwartz, followed by a Q&A with director Cody Meirick on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Libraries and readers are invited to stream the documentary on Tubi or Amazon Prime at 6 p.m. CST and join the conversation on Twitter using #CensorshipisScary or on the Facebook event page. Libraries are invited to host their own watch parties as a Banned Books Week program; more details are available at ala.org/bbooks/scarystories.

#NCTEChat—Find Your Freedom to Read

Join NCTE on Sunday, September 20, at 8:00 p.m. ET for an #NCTEchat in which Betsy Gomez (@BannedBooksWeek), coordinator of the Banned Books Week Coalition, will lead a conversation on Banned Books Week 2020, the annual celebration of the freedom to read.

The following questions will be shared during the Twitter chat:

WARM-UP: Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name, location, the grade level you teach, and share the books you are currently reading as we head into fall. #NCTEchat [8:04 p.m.]

Q1: The theme of this year’s #BannedBooksWeek (Sept 27–Oct 3) is Censorship Is a Dead End. What are some texts that help your students navigate the world around them and help them find their freedom to read? #NCTEchat [8:10 p.m.]

Q2: Face-to-face interaction can make it easier to teach books that some find challenging or even controversial. What are some best practices for teaching this material during virtual and socially distanced instruction? #NCTEchat [8:18 p.m.]

Q3: Many students have had limited access to reading materials and information during the pandemic. What are some resources and practices that encourage reading and enable access to information during this time? #NCTEchat [8:26 p.m.]

Q4: Books help students explore worlds, lives, and experiences beyond their own, but censorship impacts access to these stories. How do you encourage students to speak out about the books they’ve read or want to read? #NCTEchat [8:34 p.m.]

Q5: What resources (articles, policies, websites, organizations etc.) have you found useful in dealing with or preparing for challenges to your instructional material? #NCTEchat [8:42 p.m.]

Q6: How do you plan to celebrate #BannedBooksWeek and the freedom to read with your students? #NCTEchat [8:50 p.m.]

We hope to see you there! Be sure to join us by using #NCTEchat.

Never participated in a Twitter chat before? Check out this guide to help you get started.

CBLDF: Virtual Event Safety

Ensure the safety of your patrons with the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund‘s best practices guide, “Virtual Event Safety.” This simple visual reference helps retailers, educators, librarians, and creators protect themselves and the people joining their virtual events!

“Virtual Event Safety” provides tips on how to protect privacy, manage inappropriate behavior, and protect young people. It also has a helpful checklist and table to help you make decisions for hosting your event.”

You can view the resource here or download the Virtual Event Safety PDF

For more tips on hosting a great virtual event, check out CBLDF’s retailer resource: Tips on Hosting a Virtual Event for Your Store.


ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship. 

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers AssociationAmerican Library AssociationAmerican Society of Journalists and AuthorsAssociation of University PressesAuthors GuildComic Book Legal Defense FundFoundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE)Freedom to Read FoundationIndex on CensorshipNational Coalition Against CensorshipNational Council of Teachers of EnglishPEN AmericaPeople For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek 

Instagram: @banned_books_week

Facebook: @bannedbooksweekhttps://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/

11 Challenged and Banned Plays and Musicals

Books aren’t the only thing we celebrate during Banned Books Week. We also celebrate plays and musicals that have drawn the ire of censors. Let’s take a look at a few of the performances that have been attacked…

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee 

by William Finn and Rachel Sheinken

A performance of The 25thAnnual Putnam County Spelling Bee at Hyattsville Middle School in Maryland was cancelled about a week before it was supposed to start, ostensibly because teachers in the school raised concerns about the use of profanity, sexual innuendo, and racial humor in the play. Students were performing a slightly modified version of the Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, in which the song “My Unfortunate Erection,” has been changed “My Unfortunate Distraction,” and school officials contended that licensing agency MTI wouldn’t allow further changes to remove offensive language. But the cancellation may not be as clear-cut as officials claim. Reporters who contacted MTI were informed that the agency had allowed such changes in the past. Further, there were rumors that the play had actually been cancelled because one of the characters has two dads. After the cancellation gained national attention, the school relented and allowed the performance to go on.

American Idiot

by Michael Mayer and Billie Joe Armstrong

In early 2016, the Enfield, Connecticut, high school cancelled a production of the rock opera American Idiot. The Lamplighters student drama club was well into the planning stages had even held preliminary auditions, and faculty advisor Nate Ferreira was also in the process of editing the original (with the permission of MTI) to produce a “modified script and production notes [which] maintain the integrity of the show, while removing profanity and the more adult scenarios in the original Broadway production.” Unfortunately, some members of Lamplighters would be barred by their parents from participating in the production. Together with EHS principal Andrew Longey, Ferreira made the decision to call off “a show that most of the kids were extremely excited about” so that everyone who wanted to participate would be able to do so. The group opted to perform Little Shop of Horrors instead.

And Then Came Tango

Arguing it was “the best thing for our community”, the Sierra Foothill Charter School near Fresno, California, cancelled a showing of the play And Then Came Tango. Based on the story of a pair of male penguins that raise a chick (which also inspired a bestselling and frequently challenged children’s picture book), the play put on by Fresno State’s Theatre for Young Adults was initially shown at the anti-censorship conference Outlawed: The Naked Truth About Censored Literature for Young People. The school board voted unanimously to cancel the play after parent protest.

Cabaret

by John Kander and Fred Ebb

Parents at a Catholic school in the San Fernando Valley campaigned against the performance of the musical Cabaret, calling the award-winning musical “vulgar” and claiming it “would subject these children to performing acts of grave indecency, immodesty, immorality, and homosexual behavior on the stage.” The school principal stood behind the performance, arguing it would benefit students.

Calendar Girls

by Tim Firth

In May 2019, a performance of Calendar Girls at the Carrollton Center for the Arts in Carrollton, Texas, was cancelled due to the “implication of nudity.” “This is a conservative town, a conservative mayor and council, and we are not comfortable having our name on this production,” City Manager Time Grizzard told WLBB radio. “I understand that it is not in any way pornographic. I know there’s no actual nudity involved. It just has the appearance of that sort of thing. It just sends a message that we are not comfortable having our name on.” City officials did say they would allow the performance to happen independently, but it would have required finding sponsors and paying to use the theater space. While that funding was ostensibly available, the group behind the performance elected not to do it in fear that they might upset city officials and put future productions at risk. Carrollton officials have a track record of canceling plays they think racy; they had previously cancelled a performance of The Rocky Horror Picture Show in 2011.

Legally Blonde

by Heather Hach, Nell Benjamine, Laurence O’Keefe

An Ohio high school fired Sonja Hansen after she directed and choreographed a well-attended production of the musical Legally Blonde. Students were permitted to finish the run of Legally Blonde, which reportedly received standing ovations, but Hansen was reprimanded by the administration for allegedly “going against the school’s code of conduct.” Principal Christopher Kloesz allegedly cited “bootie-bounce dance moves” and the use of the word “skank” as reasons for the punishment.

The Producers

by Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan

A high school in Orangetown, New York, decided to remove all swastikas from a performance of The Producers, a satirical musical about Adolf Hitler. A small group of parents had complained about the offensive imagery, and Superintendent Bob Pritchard responded by requiring the removal of all swastikas from the set. “There is no context in a public high school where a swastika is appropriate,” he said. “The optic, the visual, to me was very disturbing. I considered it to be an obscenity like any obscenity.”

Rent

by Jonathan Larson

A 2014 production of Rent was cancelled by the first-year principal at Trumbull High School in Trumbull Connecticut after complaints over “sensitive” and “controversial” content. The young thespians were performing a version of the Tony Award-winning and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical that had been adapted for younger performers with the permission of the Larson estate and did not include the song “Contact,” which describes sexual activity. Students themselves pushed back against the cancellation to no avail.

Spamalot

by Eric Idle and John Du Prez

In 2014, the South Williamsport Area School District in Pennsylvania cancelled a planned production of Monty Python’s Spamalot due to “homosexual themes,” and then fired drama teacher Dawn Burch in apparent retaliation for speaking out in protest.

Sweeney Todd

by Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler

A Timberline Regional High School production of Sweeney Todd was cancelled in 2014 after administrators deemed parts of the play unacceptable. “We were uncomfortable with the script and agreed that this was not the right time or place for the performance,” said Superintendent Earl Metzler. The censorship went beyond the play. Students made a Facebook page in protest, but Metzler said much of what was written on it was “beyond disrespectful and rude, as well as illegal” and advised the creator to delete the page.

Twelfth Night

by William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare’s play about a young woman who disguises herself as a man was banned in a New Hampshire school system due to a rule that called for the “prohibition of alternative lifestyle instruction.”

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund maintains The Defender, a database of dramatic works that have been challenged or censored in the United States. Find more banned plays and musicals here.

 

11 Challenged and Banned Comics

Comics are one of the most commonly attacked types of books, with challenges and bans happening every year. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and several other members of the Banned Books Week Coalition defend comics from censorship. Here’s a look at some of the titles they’ve worked to protect.

Find out more about these challenged and banned comics and other censored titles at http://cbldf.org

Assassination Classroom

Yusei Matsui (VIZ Media, 2014)

In early 2019, Assassination Classroom was pulled from a school library on Staten Island over parental objections to its title and themes. The book’s removal runs contrary to New York City Department of Education guidelines. The manga is currently pending review by an evaluation committee and is unavailable to readers who may find insight and enjoyment in its pages.

The series follows a group of misfit students, who pledge to stop an alien supervillain disguised as a teacher from destroying the world. The series uses comedy and superhero tropes to emphasize the values of camaraderie among students and the impact that good teaching can have in the lives of pupils others have discarded.

Drama

Raina Telgemeier (Scholastic / Graphix, 2012)

Raina Telgemeier’s Drama, a graphic novel about the joys and tribulations of a middle school drama troupe, received universal critical praise upon its publication in 2012. Although most readers found Drama to be just as endearing and authentic as Telgemeier’s previous books, Smile and Sisters, a small but vocal minority have objected to the inclusion of two gay characters, one of whom shares a chaste on-stage kiss with another boy. The book was listed among the country’s top ten most banned books in 2014, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic

Alison Bechdel (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2006)

Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic examines the author’s childhood, particularly her relationship with her closeted gay father Bruce. As Alison grows older and realizes that she is a lesbian, she and Bruce are both forced to confront how his repression may have affected her own self-image and the way that she dealt with her sexuality. The book has been included on numerous best-of lists and earned the National Book Critics Circle Award and awards such as the Eisner, the Stonewall Book Award, the GLAAD Media Award, and the Lambda Literary Award (lesbian memoir and biography). It was also adapted into a Tony Award–winning musical. Despite these extraordinary accolades, Fun Home has been singled out for bans and challenges in colleges, public libraries, and high schools. It was also targeted by the South Carolina legislature and in a New Jersey lawsuit.

The Graveyard Book

Adapted by P. Craig Russell from the novel by Neil Gaiman (HarperCollins, 2014)

In 2015, CBLDF successfully defended the graphic novel edition of The Graveyard Book from a middle school library ban for violent imagery. P. Craig Russell’s graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Newbery Medal-winning prose novel tells the story of Nobody Owens, a boy raised by ghosts, and his adventures through the graveyard where he lives. Publishers Weekly called it “a vastly entertaining adaptation… It’s a treasure worth having even if the novel is already on the shelf.”

Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass

By Lilah Sturges and polterink (BOOM! Studios, 2018)

In summer 2019, an event with author and transgender rights advocate Lilah Sturges was canceled just two hours before she was scheduled to talk about Lumberjanes: The Infernal Compass at Leander Public Library in Texas. The city gave inadequate reasons, claiming temporary changes to library event policies, as well as the lack of a previously undiscussed background check. CBLDF led an immediate effort to reverse the cancelation, which a local news outlet confirmed is likely an act of discrimination against Sturges and the LGBTQ+ community. This is the second recent incident of identity censorship in Leander, following a June ban on Drag Queen Story Hour.

Persepolis

Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon, 2007)

Persepolis, Marjane Satrapi’s graphic memoir of growing up during the Iranian Revolution, has received international acclaim since its initial publication in French. Although it was certainly controversial in the Middle East, there were no publicly reported challenges or bans of the book in U.S. schools or libraries until March 2013, when Chicago Public Schools administrators abruptly pulled it from some classrooms.

A cascade of bans and challenges followed, landing the book in the second spot on the American Library Association’s Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books for 2014. In 2015, a 20-year-old college student and her parents said the book should be “eradicated from the system” at Crafton Hills College in Yucaipa, California. CBLDF stood up for the book numerous times in these cases and others, leading to its successful retention in most.

Stuck in the Middle

Edited by Ariel Schrag (Viking Juvenile, 2007)

Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Stories from an UNPLEASANT Age is an anthology of stories about the challenges of early teen years, with contributions from Daniel Clowes, Dash Shaw, Gabrielle Bell, Lauren Weinstein, and more. Praised by Booklist, The New York Times, and Publishers Weekly, it was also selected for New York Public Library’s “Books for the Teen Age” list in 2008. The book has been banned in multiple communities. Most recently, an Oklahoma middle school pulled the book from library shelves after one parent called it “trash” and complained of vulgarities, sexual references, and drug use in some of the stories, without noting that those references are there to address real-life problems facing teens.

Sword Art Online: Aincrad

Reki Kawahara and abec (Yen Press, 2017)

CBLDF took the lead in defending the manga Sword Art Online: Aincrad after it was challenged at a middle school in Jerome, Idaho, where the book was ultimately retained. The first volume in a manga series by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by abec was challenged by a Jerome Middle School teacher on behalf of a student who found both language and drawings in the book to be “inappropriate.” The images that perturbed the student reportedly involved “a female character wearing underwear and sharing a bed with a male character.”

This One Summer

Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki (First Second, 2014)

This One Summer broke boundaries by becoming the first graphic novel to make the short list for the Caldecott Medal. Unfortunately, the Caldecott honor yielded an unforeseen negative outcome: increased calls to ban the book.

This One Summer addresses the challenges of adolescence in a sensitive and nuanced storyline that has achieved wide acclaim. It was named the most challenged book of 2016, the seventh most challenged title of 2018, and it has been among CBLDF’s most frequently defended titles.

The Walking Dead

Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard (Image Comics, 2003)

At the end of the 2019 school year, the Wallace School District in Silverton, Idaho, banned The Walking Dead over concerns about “graphic imagery.” A former teacher opened an investigation into the series, and a review committee was formed to examine the books. The committee voted to retain the series, but an administrator overruled the decision and unilaterally removed the books from school shelves. Students are also restricted from bringing personal copies of the series onto campus, and the district is contemplating a system to prohibit students from accessing it through interlibrary loan. CBLDF is currently fighting the ban.

Watchmen

Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons (DC Comics, 1987)

The graphic novel that changed everything about superheroes is also one of the most frequently banned comics! Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ Watchmen has been praised by critics and fans alike since its 1986 debut. The alternate history reimagines the superhero genre, employing political allegory, adult themes, and unprecedented formal inventiveness in a murder mystery involving flawed heroes.

Watchmen won the Hugo Award in 1988 and has been instrumental in garnering more respect and shelf space for comics and graphic novels in libraries and mainstream bookstores. The same qualities that led to Watchmen’s massive acclaim also led to its challenge in school library collections.

Source: Read Banned Comics, http://cbldf.org/librarian-tools/cbldf-banned-books-week-handbook/

 

 

Banned Books Week: Handling Challenges

Unfortunately, some community members might object to certain books being available. It is important to manage those objections with professionalism, respect, and dedication to the mission of serving your community. Here are some useful tips.

Be Prepared

Specific written policies about collection development and challenge management are essential for libraries, educators, and theaters, and they’re also a good idea for retailers. Having a policy is just the first step — be sure to train all current and new staff in your policies and procedures and have periodic refresher sessions to ensure everyone on your team is on the same page. It may also be a good idea to post the policy somewhere where patrons can access it, either on a bulletin board or your institution’s website. Regularly update your policies as you gain experience, encounter new obstacles, or embrace new technology.

In addition to policies, some advance preparation can help prevent challenges to books, comics, and plays. Work with your staff to develop talking points for specific issues that you might encounter.

Remember Your Community

Libraries and schools have a broad mandate to provide choice for all of the individuals in their community. That means that they provide access to ideas and information across the spectrum of political and social views. Retail stores and theaters can be more specialized in their mission, but they also serve a wide range of patrons. When confronting a complaint, it is important to emphasize this inclusive approach and remind people that they are free to make decisions for themselves and their minor children, but they can’t do so for others.

Serving the broader community doesn’t mean that staff at libraries and bookstores are substitute parents or guardians. Communicating with parents and providing expert knowledge to help them and their children make choices is a best practice, but parents need to understand that the final decision about their kids’ reading is their own.

Keep It Friendly

When someone comes to you with a complaint or challenge, be polite, professional, and friendly even if the individual making the complaint is upset or angry. We may disagree with the person making the challenge, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore or discount the concerns expressed. Here are a few best practices for these difficult situations:

  • Greet each person with a smile. Communicate your openness to inquiries and concerns, and show that you take them seriously.
  • Listen more than you talk. Take time to comprehend and acknowledge the individual’s concern. Stay calm and courteous.
  • Avoid sharing personal opinions. Instead, be prepared to present facts, policy, and other background materials in writing.
  • Give a clear, non-intimidating explanation of the procedure for registering a complaint or challenge, and provide information on when a decision can be expected.
Enlist Experts

You don’t need to go it alone! Contact the member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition, whose expert staff can help you manage the situation with proactive resources, one-on-one advice, letters of support, and more. Even if you’ve already resolved the situation, reporting the challenge will help advocates develop tools to assist other people in your situation.

Follow Policies

Strong policies, good training, and adherence to your procedures are vital to creating the best outcome in challenge situations. People challenging content are generally well-intentioned, and they have a right to be heard. Having policies that allow you to hear their complaints and consider them objectively helps maintain a respectful approach to ensuring your institution serves the needs of everyone in your community in the best way possible — but those policies aren’t much use if you don’t stick to them!

Report Censorship!

The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help fight challenges in your community, but we need to hear about them first! The best way to fight censorship is to call it out when it occurs. Several members of the Coalition have ways to report censorship, and they work collectively to ensure your rights:

  • Report censorship to the American Library Association using this form. ALA also has a number of challenge support tools here.
  • Report censorship to the National Coalition Against Censorship by completing this form.
  • Report censorship to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by calling 1-888-88-CBLDF or 971-266-8212 or emailing info@cbldf.org
  • Report censorship to the National Council of Teachers of English using this form or by emailing intellectualfreedom@ncte.org
  • Report censorship at colleges and universities to FIRE at www.thefire.org/resources/submit-a-case/

Events Spotlight: September 25

We’re halfway through the celebration, and Banned Books Week isn’t slowing down! Here’s a snapshot of how you can join the fun today!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Coalition Events

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Banned Books & Civil Rights

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Ronald Wimberly (BLACK HISTORY IN ITS OWN WORDS) and Nate Powell (MARCH) in conversation with Scott Bonner (IFRT, Ferguson Municipal Public Library Director) about banned and challenged books, the role of censorship in civil rights movements, and how their work in comics has addressed legacies of erasure. Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books 101

Webinar • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

Did you know that hundreds of books are banned and challenged every year? In fact, you probably have some banned books on your own bookshelf! In this Banned Books Week webinar: discover why some popular titles have been banned; learn about the different ways a book can be censored; hear stories about students who stood up for the freedom to read; and find out how YOU can celebrate Banned Books Week. At the end of the program, ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Interim Director Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Assistant Director Kristin Pekoll can answer your questions about banned books, censorship, and libraries. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Hall Branch – Chicago Public Library, Chicago, IL • 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

Budlong Woods Branch, Chicago, IL • 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm CDT

Free dramatic readings by City Lit Theater from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom.  The program lasts approximately 50 minutes. Find out more »

Banned Books Bash

Spider House Ballroom, Austin, TX • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

A slightly raucous variety show celebrating the right to read whatever we please! In conjunction with the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week, and presented with PEN America, the Banned Books Bash is a fun, nerdy reminder that books need champions, and libraries feed democracy. Hosted by the marvelous Evan Narcisse, writer for Marvel’s Black Panther series. Also featuring an homage to Toni Morrison with Dr. Jennifer Wilks,Drag Queen Storytime with Ms. Anne Thrope,
Comics Code & Teen Delinquency with Michael Conrad, and
a toast to rabble rouser Molly Ivins with The Texas Observer. Find out more »

GEORGIA: Banned Together

Merely Players Presents, Doraville, GA • 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm EDT

A celebration of songs and scenes from censored plays in honor of Banned Books Week! Performed by Atlanta artists in association with the Atlanta Regional Dramatists Guild, Dramatists Guild Legal Fund and PEN America and brought to you by Merely Players Presents and Kalliope Studios, Doraville. Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Book Bingo

Central Fine Arts and International Baccalaureate Magnet High School, Macon, GA

  • September 23 – 27: Banned book display / What Do the Author’s Say About Banned Books?
  • September 25: Banned Book Bingo
  • September 26: Banned Books Selfie Booth: Get caught reading a banned book in our photo booth and share your selfie to CHS social media page.
  • September 27: Banned Books Film: The Giver

Find out more »

Dear Banned Author Writing Campaign

Fables Books, Goshen, IN • 11:00 am – 6:00 pm EDT

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. We will have a table set up all day where you can write to banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to you. To learn more about the Dear Banned Author campaign visit www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author. For more information about Banned Books Week visit bannedbooksweek.org. Find out more »

Collin College’s 7th Annual Celebration of the Freedom to Read

Collin College Frisco Campus (Preston Ridge Campus) Conference Center, Frisco, TX • 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm CDT

Please join us for Collin College’s annual Banned Books Week celebration, a fun, interactive event with faculty and student readings of challenged, banned, and/or censored works and an exciting trivia competition with trophies and some fabulous prizes and trophies. This year there will also be a special dance performance by the Collin Dance Ensemble entitled, “Censorship is a Beast,” choreographed by Dance Professor Tiffanee Arnold!  Pizza will be served.  All are invited and welcome.  Free admission. Find out more »

PEN America Examines Book Bans in U.S. Prisons

In a new policy paper, the literary and human rights organization PEN America showcases the impact of the nation’s most pernicious book ban: the system of restrictions that exist across U.S. prisons, jails, and other incarceration settings. Some 2.2 million people are currently incarcerated across the country.  Against that backdrop, Literature Locked Up: How Prison Book Restriction Policies Constitute the Nation’s Largest Book Ban details the types of book bans prisoners face, the arbitrariness with which they are implemented, and the lack of transparency and oversight that leads to bans on titles from Nobel Prize winners and leading historical figures. The publication of this paper comes amid PEN America’s Literature Locked Up initiative for Banned Books Week 2019.

“This year, as the country focuses on unfair and arbitrary book bans nationwide, we wanted to focus on the pernicious ban on books in the nation’s prisons,” said James Tager, author of the report and PEN America’s deputy director of free expression policy and research. “Literature offers a lifeline for incarcerated people in the midst of a dehumanizing system. We should be promoting access to literature in our prisons. Instead, our policies today are arbitrary, irrational, and at times needlessly cruel. We urgently need a course correction that upholds the right to read behind bars.”

Among the paper’s highlights:

  • PEN America reports that literature on race and civil rights is disproportionately subject to bans, often on the grounds that such texts threaten to disrupt a prison’s social order. Often entire categories of books are banned, and these often reflect discriminatory approaches to regulation.
  • PEN America also found that review mechanisms fail to offer meaningful oversight over these bans. While the U.S. Supreme Court has established that prisons must provide some form of administrative appeal process, there is no requirement that such reviewers are independent of the prison system, nor are there any criteria regarding reviewers’ qualifications.
  • PEN America also explores how in addition to content-specific bans, prison systems have enacted wholesale restrictions on book deliveries, such as requiring purchases come only through “secure vendors,” as well as shutdowns on book donations and deliveries writ large. PEN America finds that these “content-neutral bans” have the effect of banning potentially thousands of titles by significantly limiting the range of books available to people who are incarcerated.

While no comprehensive list exists of all books banned in jails and prisons within the U.S., tens of thousands of titles are banned outright based on outmoded or misguided attempts to regulate behavior. The carceral system in Texas, for example, has reportedly banned more than 10,000 titles, including Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses and Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. But perhaps more insidious, the paper finds that bans are often ad hoc, purely at the discretion of mailroom employees or corrections officers who happen to be on duty, constituting a wider and more arbitrary landscape of restrictions that is often invisible to the public.

“Because these book bans are rarely reviewable and seldom overturned voluntarily, the only recourse incarcerated people have is public outrage,” said PEN America’s Tager. “Every time book bans are overturned, it’s because people on the inside and advocates on the outside have urged prison systems to make changes. But the system is opaque and banned book lists are unavailable. We can’t rely on public outrage alone to ensure that the rights of people in prison aren’t routinely violated. That practice has to end.”

PEN America recommends that prison systems follow the American Library Association’s Prisoners’ Right to Read – Interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights principles as a guide. PEN America also urges state and federal officials to implement periodic review of book restriction policies; develop clear and non-discriminatory policies governing such restrictions; encourage prison authorities to consider the educational, literary, and rehabilitative merit of texts; make any banned book list available and accessible; and most crucially, enact meaningful review policies.

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible. PEN America is a member of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

PEN is hosting a Literature Locked Up event today:

BANNED BOOKS WEEK 2019: LITERATURE LOCKED UP BANNED BOOK READING AND PUBLIC DISCUSSION

Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Join Scuppernong Books on Tuesday, September 24 to celebrate banned and challenged books from around the world. In honor of Banned Books Week 2019, the event will feature readings of banned books and involve the Scuppernong’s Young Adult Book Club, as well as the general public, with an educational component around PEN America’s Literature Locked Up campaign and provide an opportunity for participants to sign a petition calling for the right to read in American prisons. Find out more »

Banned Books Week: Know Your Rights

The First Amendment protects the freedom to read. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions about a book, but they don’t have the right to limit another person’s access to information. This kind of censorship is most effective when people don’t act to stop it. Here are some fundamentals to help protect your rights when it comes to freedom of speech and the right to read!

Educators

Teachers are the foundation of our free society. Their proximity to younger readers also puts them on the front lines in free expression battles. If you’re a teacher, you should understand that your rights can vary by school or school district, so be sure to get acquainted with your institution’s collection development and challenge policies. If your school lacks such policies, volunteer to help craft them. Reach out to NCAC or NCTE for guidance in drafting clear, effective policies. Public and private institutions have different First Amendment obligations. Government entities like public schools are bound by the First Amendment, but private schools can have a narrower set of guidelines.

Generally speaking, parents can object to assignments and request alternatives for their children, but they can’t make you remove content. A single complaint shouldn’t override the professional judgment of educators in shaping curriculum.

Librarians

Public libraries provide resources for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people in their community. The American Library Association provides a vast range of resources, policies, and best practices to help support your ability to serve the community. Among the principles articulated in ALA’s Library Bill of Rights:

  • Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.
  • Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.
  • Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access
    to ideas.

View the full Library Bill of Rights at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Retailers

The First Amendment protects the right to sell all kinds of material, including material for adults and mature readers. Key principles that ensure you and your staff are safe:

  • Establish good policies and follow them. By having some specific guidelines in place and making sure every member of your staff is on the same page, you can help defuse a First Amendment emergency.
  • Thoughtfully display content. Every community is different, so be deliberate in how you display material. It may be helpful to segregate material for younger readers into its own section, rack mature titles on a high shelf, or even keep some more adult material in its own section.
  • Talk to your customers and be involved in your community. It sounds like common sense, but if you’re well-established as part of the community, people are more likely to try to work out a solution one-on-one than to take an adversarial approach.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund recently released Selling Comics, a guide to comics retailing that also includes several chapters on the freedom to sell comics. Get a copy here. CBLDF’s Retailer Rights Workshops provide hands on information. If you are interested in hosting or participating, contact CBLDF at info@cbldf.org

The American Booksellers Association has created a number of tools to help retailers advocate for various causes, including free expression. Find out more at http://www.bookweb.org/abfe

Readers (AKA All of Us!)

Whether you’re age 7 or 107, the First Amendment protects your right to access information. Here are some ways you can help uphold that right:

Stay informed! Keep in touch with your local librarians and educators to find out about book challenges in your community. Subscribe to news publications dedicated to the First Amendment and free expression, such as email newsletters from the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

Report censorship! Reporting challenges when they happen helps free expression advocates gather necessary information about what materials are at risk. The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are ready to help fight challenges in your community, but we need to hear about them first! The best way to fight censorship is to call it out when it occurs. Several members of the Coalition have resources for reporting censorship:

  • Report censorship to the American Library Association using this form. ALA also has a number of challenge support tools here.
  • Report censorship to the National Coalition Against Censorship by completing this form.
  • Report censorship to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund by calling 1-888-88-CBLDF or 971-266-8212 or emailing info@cbldf.org
  • Report censorship to the National Council of Teachers of English using this form or by emailing intellectualfreedom@ncte.org
  • Report censorship at colleges and universities to FIRE at www.thefire.org/resources/submit-a-case/

Speak up! Attempts to ban books rarely succeed when people speak out against them. Whether it is a school board, PTA, or library meeting or a public hearing, be there to speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read. Write letters to your local administrators, politicians, and newspapers supporting the right to read. Remind your fellow citizens and officials that no one has the right to restrict access to books, and be prepared to stand up for all books, even those you may not like. Any successful book ban opens the door to more censorship.

Source: CBLDF Banned Books Week Handbook 2017, http://cbldf.org/librarian-tools/cbldf-banned-books-week-handbook/

It’s Not Too Late to Put Together a Banned Books Week Display or Event!

Banned Books Week is almost here, but it’s not too late to put together a display or event at your library, school, or store! The Banned Books Week Coalition is ready to help you put it together — and promote it — with some last-minute ideas and resources!

Dear Banned Author

ALA’s Dear Banned Author letter-writing campaign encourages readers to reach out to banned or challenged authors via letters, emails, and tweets. The program aims to raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and ignite discussions about the essential access to a variety of library materials. Authors have also shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

It’s easy to host a Dear Banned Author programs. Printable postcards and author mailing addresses can be found on the Dear Banned Author webpage. Set up a table in your library or classroom or put them on the checkout corner, and encourage your visitors to participate!

You can also participate online or invite your patrons to do so while they’re in your library, school, or store. Eligible tweets to or about banned and challenged authors with the hashtag #DearBannedAuthor will be entered into a drawing to win Banned Books Week materials. Learn more here, and read the Official Rules before entering.

Stand for the Banned Virtual Read-Out

The annual Stand for the Banned Read-out invites readers to film themselves reading banned books or talking about censorship. Videos are highlighted on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel. Set up a space in your library, school, or store where your patrons can participate in the read-out. Get more details here.

Banned Books Trivia Night

Trivia nights, also called pub quizzes, quiz nights, or bar trivia, are a great low-cost way to engage your community for Banned Books Week and beyond! The Banned Books Week Coalition assembled a program kit that provides a basic outline and tips for hosting your own trivia night, along with templates for promotional and support materials and questions you can use during your event. Find out more here.

Displays

Start the conversation about Banned Books Week by making a display in your library, classroom, or store! Here are just a few ideas:

  • Wrap a selection of banned and challenged titles with caution tape.
  • Cover banned or challenged books in brown paper, and write only the reason why the book was challenged—not the title or creator—across the front. Imagine the surprise when the book labeled “Political Viewpoint, Racism, and Violence” turns out to be all-
    ages favorite Bone by Jeff Smith!
  • Put banned books and plays behind bars! Use a pet crate or fencing to “lock up” challenged material.
  • Hang banned books from a mobile, just out of reach of your audience.
  • Decorate a bulletin board or build a backdrop where patrons and customers can take selfies or “mugshots” of themselves reading banned books.
  • Design a bulletin board to look like a page from a comic book. In each panel, feature a challenged or banned book or play with a caption about the material. The more ridiculous the claim, the better!

You can find even more programming ideas in the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook here and on our resources page here. The Banned Books Week Coalition offers several promotional downloads here. Digital posters and more are available on the ALA Store. OIF’s Free Downloads webpage offers social media shareables, coloring sheets, activities, and videos.

If you host a Banned Books Week event, be sure to register it online at bannedbooksweek.org/events/ — it will be included on our free Banned Books Week event calendar for the world to find! 

NOW AVAILABLE: The Latest Edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook

Are you getting ready to celebrate Banned Books Week? Then don’t miss the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook, which is available now to read digitally and will be making its first-ever print debut during the 2019 ALA Annual Conference!

Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook is a free publication that can be used to guide your celebration of the right to read during Banned Books Week or any time of year! It includes programming ideas, best practices for events, resources, and tips for handling censorship.

If you are attending #ALAAC19, look for the handbook at intellectual freedom programs and the Stand for the Banned booth throughout the conference! (For a rundown of these events, check out the ALA blog here.)

Don’t let censors take books out of our hands! Celebrate free expression during Banned Books Week (September 22 – 28, 2019). The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

Banned Books Week is the most important opportunity during the year for advocates — publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and readers — to explain why we must defend everyone’s right to choose what they want to read and view. The 15 member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition will support your celebration throughout the year with programming ideas, promotional materials, an events calendar, and other resources available at bannedbooksweek.org

Get your event planning started with the latest edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook!

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People for the American Way; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Banned Books Week 2019: Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark

Don’t let censors take books out of our hands! Celebrate free expression during Banned Books Week (September 22 – 28, 2019). The theme of this year’s event proclaims “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark,” urging everyone to “Keep the Light On.”

Banned Books Week is the most important opportunity during the year for advocates — publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and readers — to explain why we must defend everyone’s right to choose what they want to read and view. The 15 member organizations of the Banned Books Week Coalition will support your celebration with programming ideas, promotional materials, an events calendar, and other resources available at bannedbooksweek.org

Banned Books Week has been shining a light on censorship since it was founded in 1982, and the fight for free expression is as urgent as ever. In recent years, the attacks on the right to read have become bolder, as legislatures have introduced bills that would eliminate crucial safeguards for the right to read books that some people find offensive.

In recognition of National Library Week (April 7 – 13, 2019), the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 11 Most Challenged Books of 2018. In 2018, ALA tracked nearly 350 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services, as well as 483 books that were challenged or banned. ALA normally lists 10 challenged books, but for this year’s list, the last two books were tied and both were publicly burned because they contained LGBTQIA+ content. In fact, six of the books on the list were attacked for this reason, including Alex Gino’s George, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss and EG Keller, Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, Drama by Raina Telgemeier, This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Kristyna Litten, and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan.

“Almost half of the books on the Top 11 this year (including This Day in June) were banned or challenged because they contained LGBTQ+ content,” says challenged author Gayle Pitman. “That is incredibly disturbing to me. Whether it involves removing a book from a shelf or burning a book in a trash can, all of these are attempts to erase, silence, and destroy our communities. This is an opportunity for all of us to stand up for the freedom to read, as well as for the right to see ourselves reflected in books and for our communities to exist without oppression.”

Bestselling author Judy Blume (Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret; Forever), member of the National Coalition Against Censorship’s board of directors and a long-time target of censors, affirms the importance of Banned Books Week. “It’s a chance for all of us to celebrate the books we love and to make sure we continue to work to protect our intellectual freedom.”

“The importance of Banned Books Week can never be overstated,” imparts Mitchell Kaplan, owner of Books & Books and co-founder of the Miami Book Fair International. “Independent bookstores everywhere are given the opportunity to shine a light on the importance of fighting to keep our freedom to read intact. In these precarious times, free expression must be allowed to keep the looming darkness at bay.”

Help the Banned Books Week Coalition keep the light on during Banned Books Week, September 22 – 28, 2019! Visit bannedbooksweek.org or follow us on Twitter to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.

Learn more about the Top 11 Challenged Books of 2018 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the challenges facing America’s libraries at ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2019

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION

The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE); Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People For the American Way Foundation; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

5 Things You Can Do to Support the Right to Read

Banned Books Week is a celebration of the right to read, a right that needs to be protected year round. Whether you’re a librarian, teacher, bookseller, student, or writer, there are a number of things you can do to defend and support the right to read.

Know Your Rights

The First Amendment protects the freedom to read. Everyone is entitled to express their opinions about a book, but they don’t have the right to limit another person’s access to information. Censorship is most effective when people don’t know or defend their rights.

For educators and school librarians, public and private institutions have different First Amendment obligations. Government entities like public schools are bound by the First Amendment, but private schools can have a narrower set of guidelines. Be sure to understand your school’s policies.

For librarians, ALA’s Library Bill of Rights is a useful tool in understanding your rights and the rights of your community. You can view it at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/intfreedom/librarybill

Students don’t necessarily have the same First Amendment rights as adults. For safety reasons, schools can put limited restraints on free expression. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund put together BE HEARD! Protecting Your Rights to help students understand their rights. You can read it at https://ncac.org/resource/be-heard

Be Prepared

One way to prevent challenges and bans is to prepare for them. If you’re an educator or librarian, ensure that you have clear and comprehensive collection development and materials review policies. Several members of the Banned Books Week Coalition have tools specifically for this purpose:

Policies are also important for booksellers. The First Amendment protects the right to sell all kinds of material, including material for adults and mature readers, but retailers should take steps to protect themselves and their staff:

  • Establish good policies and follow them. By having some specific guidelines in place and making sure every member of your staff is on the same page, you can help defuse a First Amendment emergency.
  • Thoughtfully display content. Every community is different, so be deliberate in how you display material. It may be helpful to segregate material for younger readers into its own section, rack mature titles on a high shelf, or even keep some more adult material in its own section.
  • Talk to your customers and be involved in your community. It sounds like common sense, but if you’re well-established as part of the community, people are more likely to try to work out a solution one-on-one than to take an adversarial approach.
  • If you need assistance, the American Booksellers Association has created a number of tools to help retailers (http://www.bookweb.org/abfe), and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund provides advice and aid to retailers (info@cbldf.org).

Stay Informed

Keep in touch with your local librarians and educators to find out about book challenges in your community. Subscribe to news publications dedicated to the First Amendment and free expression, such as email newsletters from the members of the Banned Books Week Coalition.

Report Censorship

Censorship thrives in ignorance. The best way to prevent it is to make sure that free expression advocates know it’s happening, even if an official challenge hasn’t been made yet. Several members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are prepared to take direct action to prevent and fight censorship. Use the following contact information to let them know when books, comics, and plays are under threat!

Speak Out

Attempts to ban books rarely succeed when people speak out against them. Here are a few ways you can speak out for banned and challenged books:

  • Attend school board, PTA, or library meetings or public hearings where book challenges are being discussed, and be prepared to speak up for the First Amendment and the right to read.
  • Write letters to your local administrators, politicians, and newspapers supporting the right to read. Remind your fellow citizens and officials that no one has the right to restrict access to books.
  • Be prepared to stand up for all books, even those you may not like. Any successful book ban opens the door to more censorship.

For more information about advocating for the right to read, challenges, programming, and more, check out the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook here.

10 Reasons Books Are Challenged and Banned

Books and plays are challenged for any number of reasons. Let’s take a look at ten of those reasons and the books on ALA’s Top Ten Challenged Books list for 2017 and previous years that were attacked for these reasons…

LGBTQ Content

In 2017, several books were challenged because of LGBTQ content. Drama, a bestselling young adult graphic novel by Raina Telgemeier was challenged for the inclusion of LGBTQ characters. Alex Gino’s award-winning middle grades book George and Jazz Jenning’s autobiographical picture book I Am Jazz were both attacked because of their transgender main characters. And Tango Makes Three, a children’s picture book based on the real-life story of two male penguins that raise a chick together, was challenged for featuring a same-sex relationship.

Other books challenged for LGBTQ content:

Sexually Explicit

In 2017, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie was challenged for being sexually explicit.

The following books have also been challenged or banned for being sexually explicit:

  • This One Summer
  • Drama
  • Two Boys Kissing
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green
  • Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky
  • Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
  • Habibi by Craig Thompson
  • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  • Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Profanity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give were among the titles attacked for profanity in 2017.

In previous years, the books challenged for profanity include:

  • This One Summer
  • Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk

Racism

Racism is among the various reasons that The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been challenged. The all-ages comic series Bone by Jeff Smith, a hero’s journey that centers on a trio of three Shmoo-like creatures, their human companions, a giant red dragon, and sundry fantasy characters, has also been challenged for racism.

Other titles accused of racism:

  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Violence

Violence is a popular reason for challenging books. In 2017, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini and To Kill a Mockingbird for challenged for violence.

Other titles attacked for violence:

  • Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • The Bluest Eye
  • Bone
  • Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz
  • Beloved by Toni Morrison
  • The Hunger Gamestrilogy by Suzanne Collins
  • Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Religious Viewpoint

Religious viewpoint has been used to attack everything from The Holy Bible to I Am Jazz.

Other books challenged for religious viewpoint:

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  • Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • The Hunger Games
  • Bless Me Ultima
  • The Kite Runner
  • Beloved

Sex Education

Sex education is a touchy subject for many. Many schools regulate materials used for sex education, which means would-be censors might use that designation to try to restrict access to books that teach kids about their bodies. In 2017, Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth’s award-winning Sex Is a Funny Word was challenged for the very thing that it is intended to do: educate young readers about sex and gender. I Am Jazz has previously been attacked as being a sex education book in an attempt to limit access to it.

Other books attacked for educational content about sex and gender:

  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out
  • It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  • It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families by Robie Harris

Suicide

In 2017, a popular Netflix series triggered attacks on Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why, a bestselling young adult book that explores teen suicide. The book was banned in multiple school districts around the country. The Perks of Being A Wallflower has also been challenged for the content related to suicide.

Drug and Alcohol Use

Another reason that The Hate U Give was attacked in 2017 was the depiction of drug use.

The depiction of drug and alcohol use was also cited in challenges to the following books:

  • This One Summer
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • A Stolen Life
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • Looking for Alaska
  • Thirteen Reasons Why
  • Gossip Girl by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  • Internet Girls series by Lauren Myracle

Nudity

Unfortunately, some people equate nudity in books with obscenity, leading to challenges to the material. Comics and illustrated books are especially vulnerable to these challenges because they contain static images. Books that have been challenged for nudity include:

  • Habibi
  • It’s Perfectly Normal
  • Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
  • The Color of Earth trilogy by Kim Dong Hwa
  • My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy
  • Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Brave New World
  • What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  • Internet Girls
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Art courtesy of the American Library Association. View ALA’s top ten challenged books lists here.

Events Spotlight: September 25

What are you doing to celebrate the third day of Banned Books Week? Here are a few suggestions for events around the country!

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/, where you can find events happening all over the world! If you’re hosting an event, let us know about it by completing this form — we’ll add it to the map!

Don’t forget to tag @BannedBooksWeek and #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter and Facebook when you share your Banned Books Week adventures!

Let’s take a look at how people are celebrating today…

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Speaking Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship
Webinar, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PT

Join the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, SAGE Publishing, and Index on Censorship for “Speak Out: Voicing Movements in the Face of Censorship.” In this Banned Books Week webinar, authors will engage in conversation on writing, activism, and speaking out. How have they used their words to speak out about something that has been silenced? What is the difference between being a voice of and for a movement? And what will it take for America to be censorship free in both oral and written word?

Our featured speakers include:

  • Brandy Colbert, award-winning author of various fiction works including Little & Lion, a story that touches on the intersection of race, sexuality, and religion
  • Alex Gino, author of George, an award-winning and heartwarming middle grade book about a transgender girl
  • Marni Brown, acclaimed author of Gendered Lives, Sexual Beings, a textbook lauded for its intersectional framework, and an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Georgia Gwinnett College

The webinar will be moderated by Jemimah Steinfield, Deputy Editor of the award-winning Index on Censorship magazine.

Register for the webinar at https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/6749024865921094915

Image Comics Livestream: Pornsak Pichetshote
Twitch, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. ET

Image Comics is celebrating Banned Books Week with Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and The Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table of the American Library Association by producing a week of Library Livestreams featuring creators Nick Dragotta (EAST OF WEST), Grace Ellis (MOONSTRUCK, Lumberjanes), Pornsak Pichetshote (INFIDEL), Charles Soule (CURSE WORDS), and Skottie Young (I HATE FAIRYLAND, BULLY WARS, MIDDLEWEST).

Simply visit the Image Comics Twitch page at https://www.twitch.tv/imagecomics. All webinars will run from 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EST and will include a discussion between moderator and creator for 40-45 minutes; followed by 15-20 minutes of Q&A participation with live audience. No registration is required to view these livestreams.

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—Buffalo, New York
Nichols School, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. ET

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works. Buffalo, NY, based actor, director, and theatre educator Kristen Tripp Kelley will direct Nichols high school students and alumni in a collection of previously censored scenes and songs. The ensemble is proud to join with Banned Together artists and citizens around the country in the promotion of our freedom of expression.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-2018-western-new-york-tickets-48878975331

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret—St. Louis, Missouri
Tesseract Theatre, 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. CT

Join the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, as they present Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret during Banned Books Week 2018 (September 23-29). This lively celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on the American stage raises awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in theater. The performances will feature selections from Chicago, Spring Awakening, Cabaret, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works.

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/banned-together-st-louis-tickets-49681392382

Censored: Inside the Lord Chamberlain’s Office (British Library)
September 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST
When: Tue 25 Sep 2018, 19:00 – 20:30
Where: Knowledge Centre The British Library 96 Euston Road London NW1 2DB
Tickets: From £8 to £12 via British Library

50 years after the Lord Chamberlain’s Office stopped censoring British theatre,Kathryn Johnson, Steve Nicholson and Dan Rebellato shed light on the inner workings of the former ‘fun police’. They are joined by writer and director Vinay Patel, author of the smash-hit BBC drama Murdered by My Father, who writes a short scene especially for the occasion which is performed and censored on the night.

How did censorship used to work? How could playwrights play the system? And what was the cost of censorship for society? Drawing on a wealth of examples and anecdotes from the Lord Chamberlain’s archive, held by the British Library, our panel of experts discover what would have got you into trouble (and clever ways you might have got around it…)

Hosted by The British Library as part of Banned Books Week UK 2018. More info…

Dear Banned Author Letter Writing Campaign (all week)

Dear Banned Author is a letter-writing campaign hosted by the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write to their favorite banned or challenged authors, sharing what their stories meant to them. The goal of the campaign is to not only raise awareness of books that are threatened with censorship and support authors, but also encourage thoughtful discussions about the power of words and how essential it is to have access to a variety of viewpoints in libraries. Authors also have shared fan letters as support when there’s a public challenge to their books.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/dear-banned-author

Project Censored (all week)

Project Censored will celebrate Banned Books Week with several guests representing a variety of perspectives on censorship and advocacy for the right to read. Find the show at the Project Censored website, https://projectcensored.org/, during Banned Books Week.

Other Events

Censura a impressos no Brasil: da colônia aos dias atuais – Censorship to printed in Brazil: from the colony to the present day
September 25 @ 10:00 am – 12:00 pm UTC-4
Biblioteca Central da Universidade de Brasília, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, Gleba A, UnB
Asa Norte, Brasília – DF, 70910-900 Brazil

This lecture will present the multiple facets of censorship of books and periodicals in Brazil, going through all historical periods since the colonization. There will also be some censored titles that we have in the Rare Books Sector, such as the periodicals Correio Braziliense periodicals (1808), Pasquim e Movimento, the book Mein Kampf of Hitler, among others. More info…

Banned Books Week at Marist College: Uncensored Readings & Banned Book Bingo
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm EDT
Marist College, 3399 North Rd.
Poughkeepsie, NY 12601 United States

Join us for Banned Book Bingo and Uncensored Readings! Banned Book Bingo will take place on Monday, September 24th, 7 – 9:00 pm in the Cabaret and Uncensored Readings will be on Monday, September 24th and Tuesday, September 25th from 12 – 4:00 pm in the Library Lobby. If you would like to get involved as a reader, please email Emily.Doyle@marist.edu. Also, don’t forget to check out a book this month from our Banned Books display that will be on the main floor of the library during Banned Books Week! More info…

Indy Celebrates the Freedom to Read!
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – September 30 @ 8:00 pm EDT
Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, 340 N Senate Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46260 United States

The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library is celebrating the freedom to read and expression of ideas during Banned Books Week!

This year, Ball State University English professor Rai Peterson will be living in the front window of KVML as our prisoner. For the entire week she will be imprisoned behind a wall of banned books, while joining the community in exploring censorship and challenged works.

From September 24-29, we invite you to join our prisoner for readings and discussions with guests such as Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, IUPUI professor Trevor Potts, Hunter S. Thompson’s son Juan Thompson, playwright Kenneth Jones, and more!

Not only are we supporting banned books, but also mental health awareness and our year of programming theme Lonesome No More. Kurt Vonnegut’s daughter Nanette will share her family’s story and struggle with mental health challenges. More info…

Harvard Law School 3rd Annual Read-Out
September 25 @ 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT
Harvard Law School Library: front steps, 1545 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138 United States

Bring your lunch and join us on the steps of the HLS Library as members of the Harvard community read excerpts from our favorite banned books. We’ll be reading from classic literature, children’s picture books, and everything in between! More info…

Film Viewing: Good Morning, Vietnam
September 25 @ 2:30 pm – 5:30 pm PDT
Mt. San Antonio College Library, 1100 N. Grand Ave
Walnut, CA 91789 United States

In honor of Banned Books Week, Mt. SAC students voted to watch the film, Good Morning, Vietnam.  Join us to watch the film and see how individuals deal with attempts to censor the news. More info…

Banned Books Out Loud
September 25 @ 3:30 pm – 4:30 pm EDT
Rochambeau Library, 708 Hope Street
Providence, RI 02906 United States

Library Staff will be reading aloud from Banned Books in the Children’s Library at the Rochambeau Library. Kids five and up may stop in to enjoy excerpts from Banned Books and color along! More info…

Books on the Chopping Block
September 25 @ 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm CDT

Free Dramatic Readings by City Lit Theater Company of excerpts from the Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books in America, as compiled by the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual freedom.

Today’s event:
Tuesday 9/25, 4:30PM – Edgewater Branch
6000 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL

More info…

Intellectual Freedom Panel
September 25 @ 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm CDT
Kingsville Public Library, 6006 Academy Street
Kingsville, OH 44048 United States

Join us September 25th from 5:00 to 7:00 PM in the Simak Welcome Center to engage with our community panel members as we discuss the importance of your right to read! Esteemed panel members for the evening will be: KSUA Library Sciences Professor Amy Thomas, LEADERship Ashtabula County Director Laura Jones, State Representative and former Teacher Dr. John Patterson, KSUA Adjunct Professor of Justice Studies Dr. Richard Dana, and retired Geneva Area City Schools Superintendent,Mary Zappitelli. More info…

Banned Books Jeopardy
September 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm EDT
Ezra Lehman Memorial Library, 1871 Old Main
Shippenburg, PA 17257 United States

We’ll take banned books for $1000, Alex. More info…

Banned Books Week Discussion: The Freedom to Read
September 25 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm PDT
Lake Oswego Public Library, 706 Fourth Street
Lake Oswego, OR 97034 United States

Our local school librarian will lead a discussion, co-facilitated with students from the two local high schools, of the freedom to read and ways it is threatened. The audience will discuss books that have been challenged or banned in recent years, with a focus on the ALA’s top 10 most challenged books of 2017. Why were these books challenged, and what are the best ways to respond to those challenges. Each of the high-school students will also talk about her or his favorite banned or challenged book. More info…

110+ Challenged and Banned Books and Plays to Read for Banned Books Week!

Banned books weekLooking for something to read during your Banned Books Week celebrations? Start here!

ALA OIF Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2017

The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has published their annual list of the ten most frequently challenged and banned books, along with an analysis of the censorship threats facing U.S. schools and libraries.

In 2017, the following books were among the most frequently attacked:

  1. Banned Spotlight: Thirteen Reasons Why
  2. Banned Spotlight: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
  3. Banned Spotlight: Drama
  4. Banned Spotlight: The Kite Runner
  5. Banned Spotlight: George
  6. Banned Spotlight: Sex Is a Funny Word
  7. Banned Spotlight: To Kill a Mockingbird
  8. Banned Spotlight: The Hate U Give
  9. Banned Spotlight: And Tango Makes Three
  10. Banned Spotlight: I Am Jazz

If you’re looking for EVEN MORE challenged and banned books to read, check out the top ten lists for previous years here!

The National Council for Teachers of English has also compiled a comprehensive list of books that have been challenged between 2002 and 2018. View the list here!

Banned Spotlight: Censored Comics

Comics are challenged for all of the same reasons that other books are challenged, but they are uniquely vulnerable to challenges because of their visual nature. Because comics thrive on the power of the static image, a single page or panel can be the impetus for a challenge in a way that’s different from a passage in a book. Some people still believe that comics are low value speech or are made exclusively for children, and object to comics in the library because of these misconceptions. Comic Book Legal Defense Fund specializes in the defense of comics and graphic novels and the First Amendment rights of the comics community. Find out more about these 30 comics, which CBLDF has helped defend!

Banned Spotlight: Plays and Musicals

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund works to protect the rights of playwrights and performers, including their First Amendment rights to stage a work. One of the tools DLDF provides is The Defender, a database of dramatic works that have been challenged or censored. At present, the list includes more than 70 works that have been targeted by censors. Find out more here…

Banned Books Week Is Here — Celebrate With New Handbook!

Banned Books Week kicks off on Sunday, and the Banned Books Week Coalition is celebrating with the CELEBRATE BANNED BOOKS WEEK HANDBOOK, a new publication! Visit https://bannedbooksweek.org/resources/handbook/ to view the handbook or read it below, and find a Banned Books Week event near you at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/

CELEBRATE BANNED BOOKS WEEK HANDBOOK is a free publication that can be used to guide your celebration of the right to read during Banned Books Week or any time of year! It includes programming ideas, best practices for events, resources, and tips for handling censorship. This invaluable handbook will continue in coming years with annual updates.

The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship. Please join us during Banned Books Week, September 23 – 29, 2018! Tell us about your display or event by completing the form at https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/community/add/, and we’ll include it on our events calendar!

Learn more about the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017 at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/NLW-Top10 and the challenges facing America’s libraries at http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2018

ABOUT THE BANNED BOOKS WEEK COALITION
The Banned Books Week Coalition is an international alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The Coalition seeks to engage various communities and inspire participation in Banned Books Week through education, advocacy, and the creation of programming about the problem of book censorship.

The Banned Books Week Coalition includes American Booksellers Association; American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of University Presses; Authors Guild; Comic Book Legal Defense Fund; Dramatists Legal Defense Fund; Freedom to Read Foundation; Index on Censorship; National Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; PEN America; People for the American Way; and Project Censored. It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. Banned Books Week also receives generous support from DKT Liberty Project and Penguin Random House.

Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign

Are you looking for a low-cost and engaging Banned Books Week event for your library, school, or bookstore? The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom has launched the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign, an opportunity to both engage your community and speak out against censorship.

During Banned Books Week (September 23-29), readers are encouraged to write their favorite challenged and banned authors, sharing what their stories mean to them. The campaign raises awareness of banned books, and it encourages discussions about the power of words and the right to read. For authors, it gives them a sense of support for their work, and the letters can be useful tools in fighting challenges — some authors have shared their fan mail to help defend their work from bans.

ALA OIF has a number of tools to facilitate programming around the Dear Banned Author Letter-Writing Campaign here. You’ll find tips for running a program, downloadable postcards, and more to help you engage your community and celebrate Banned Books Week!

Get Ready for Banned Books Week with Coalition Resources!

The members of the Banned Books Week Coalition have resources to support Banned Books Week programming, promotion of the annual celebration of the right to read, and banned books themselves. Many of these resources can be used throughout the year, so you can celebrate the right to read every day!

Check out the following resources from the coalition. Several can be used by multiple audiences, from educators, to librarians, to retailers, and beyond! Most of these resources are free unless otherwise indicated.

If you’re hosting an event or display, don’t forget to let us know about it, and we’ll share it here for the world to find!

Copyright notice: Unless otherwise indicated, the resources offered here are copyright and/or property of their respective creators. Resources can be used to support and promote Banned Books Week events, but none of the resources can be sold or used for fundraising purposes. Copyright should be attributed to the respective creator. For inquiries or clarification, please contact coordinator@bannedbooksweek.org

Read Banned Comics!

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund wants you to Read Banned Comics during Banned Books Week! From Watchmen to Bone, Spider-Man to This One Summer, comics are still being attacked, and CBLDF’s new publication, Read Banned Comics, showcases the banned comics your customers and patrons should read to celebrate the right to read! Discover the comics frequently facing censorship. Hear from creators, including Neil Gaiman, Raina Telgemeier, G. Willow Wilson, and more, as they share their thoughts on free expression.

Check out Read Banned Comics below or at cbldf.org! It’s also available in low-cost bundles to pass out at your Banned Books Week celebration and beyond! Get yours here.

If you are hosting an event or Banned Books Week display, let us know about it! Register your event at http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/events!

Get Ready for Banned Books Week

Get ready for Banned Books Week 2018 with tools from the Banned Books Week Coalition! Banning books silences stories, so speak up for the stories that matter to you by participating in this powerful event!