Category: Uncategorized

Banned Books Week Tuesday: Bookmobiles, HOWL, and more!

Banned Books Week day three: not one, but two, bookmobiles get the day started, and you can wrap up the day with an amazing virtual program hosted by City Lights Bookstore! Keep reading for a look at today’s events.

TOMORROW: Don’t miss Banned Books Week Honorary Chair LeVar Burton, live on Instagram at 8:00 p.m. EDT! And our Yourh Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels will lead a conversation with other youth advocates on Thursday, October 5, at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week events calendar for a full list of what’s happening today and throughout the week!

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The New Republic: THE BANNED BOOKS TOUR 2023

2:00 – 5:00 p.m. EDT • King PreK – 8, 50 Montgomery Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

The New Republic is launching a bold new initiative to combat censorship and celebrate the First Amendment to coincide with Banned Books Week October 1–7, 2023. This fall, we are taking it on the road, sending a bookmobile to distribute books in states that have witnessed the highest incidents of banned books, including Texas, Florida, Missouri, Virginia, and Pennsylvania.

We will launch our journey at the Brooklyn Book Festival on October 1 where we will accept book (and financial) donations with special help from our partners at House of SpeakEasy via the SpeakEasy Bookmobile.

Our “festival on wheels” will connect with communities, authors, bookstores, libraries, and local leaders to celebrate the freedom to read.

Oct 3—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

2 p.m.– 5 p.m. // King PreK – 8, 50 Montgomery Pl, Pittsburgh, PA 15212

The Banned Wagon Tour: Nashville

3:00 – 6:00 p.m. EDT • The Bookshop 1043 W Eastland Avenue, Nashville, Tennessee

Book bans are on the rise in America, driven by new laws and regulations limiting the kinds of books that kids can access.

This month, we’re hitting the road with the Freedom to Read Foundation, Pen America, and Little Free Library to hand out copies of banned books in some of the most affected communities.

Explore this this site to see whether the Banned Wagon is coming to a city near you, learn about the books we’ll be handing out, and explore more resources to fight book bans!


4:00 p.m. CDT • Edgewater Branch, Chicago Public Library, 6000 N. Broadway St., Chicago, IL 

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 across the United States.

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.​

City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe believes that concert readings of excerpts from challenged books actively celebrate the books most at risk, calling attention to the would-be censor’s threat to an educated democracy. “Our focus is literate theatre, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people,” McCabe says. “We are privileged to continue our alliance with the ALA in this important work.”


6:00 – 7:00 p.m. PDT • Virtual Event

During Banned Books Week, City Lights and PEN America bring together authors, librarians, and student activists to discuss the alarming rise in book bans across the country. They share insights, observations, and methods to counter the suppression of books that address issues pertaining to race, gender, and sexuality. Ever timely, their conversation is a powerful call to action to stand up for the freedom to read.


  • Ipek S. Burnett, PhD
  • Becky Calzada 
  • Leela Hensler 
  • Summer Lopez
  • Nic Stone


Ongoing Events

Share a Banned Book in a Little Free Library!

Our mission at Little Free Library is to expand access to books – including banned books – and we invite you to join us! Sharing banned and challenged books in your local Little Free Libraries is a meaningful way to get books into readers’ hands, show your support for reading freedom, and do something positive in your community. Here’s how:

1) Share a banned book in a Little Free Library. Find Little Free Libraries near you using our free mobile app (

2) Snap a photo and post it on social media with #bannedbooksweek. Don’t forget to tag Little Free Library so we’re sure to see your photos!

3) Bonus: Little Free Library stewards can enter to win our Banned Books Week giveaway with HarperCollins Children’s Books, which will be open for entry during the month of October (

People For’s Banned Books Reading Challenge

In this challenge, every book you read (to a grandchild or on your own) gives you one “point,” and points can be traded in for free Grandparents For Truth swag! Supplies are limited so make sure to read early and often!

How You Can Join the Challenge

  1. Sign up for the challenge here.
  2. Pick a banned book off of our banned book reading list
  3. Submit a photo or video of you (or you and a grandkid!) reading the banned book. If you post it to social, make sure you tag us (we’re @peoplefor on Twitter/X and Facebook and @peoplefor_ on Instagram)and use the hashtag #bannedbooks2023
  4. Each photo or video you submit or tag us in is worth one point! Rack up points to get free Grandparents for Truth swag like tshirts, book marks, water bottles, and more!
  5. Keep an eye on your inbox! At the end of October, we’ll reach out to you to see what swag you’d like.

Supplies are limited – so read early and often!

Don’t Miss These Banned Books Week Coalition Events!

The Banned Books Week Coalition is delighted to host some amazing creators during Banned Books Week, September 26 – October 2, including a warm-up even with comics superstar Gene Luen Yang, Facebook Live events with the creators of the banned children’s books Something Happened in Our Town and One of a Kind Like Me and Banned Books Week Honorary Chair Jason Reynolds, and Twitter chats with Laurie Halse Anderson and Alex Gino! Get the details here!

A Conversation With Gene Luen Yang: Censorship in Leander, Texas

Thursday, September 23, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT / 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. CDT
Facebook Live:

Bestselling comics creator and former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature Gene Luen Yang (American Born Chinese, Dragon Hoops, Shang-Chi) is joined by educator Alexis Huddleston and parent Stephani Bercu for a conversation about the censorship of young people’s literature in Leander, Texas, and beyond! Early this year, the school district in Leander undertook a review of its book club reading lists after a parent complained about one of the titles during a school board meeting. The review led to the removal of more than a dozen acclaimed and award-winning novels and graphic novels, most of them by people of color or featuring diverse characters. Huddleston and Bercu will speak about their experience defending the reading lists, while Yang — who has two titles, Dragon Hoops and American Born Chinese, on the list — will offer a creator’s perspective on censorship. Moderated by Nora Pelizzari (National Coalition Against Censorship) and Betsy Gomez (Banned Books Week Coalition).

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 advocates 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 a National Book Award Finalist. His other works include Secret Coders (with Mike Holmes), The Shadow Hero (with Sonny Liew), New Super-Man and Superman from DC Comics (with various artists), Superman Smashes the Klan from DC Comics (with Gurihiru), the Avatar: The Last Airbender series from Dark Horse Comics (with Gurihiru), and Dragon Hoops. He is currently writing Shang-Chi for Marvel Comics.

In 2016, Yang was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow, and the Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader, and the Children’s Book Council appointed him the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature. For more, visit

Censorship of Children’s Books: A Conversation with the Creators of Something Happened in Our Town and One of a Kind, Like Me

Monday, September 27, 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. EDT / 1:30– 2:30 p.m. CDT / 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. PDT
Facebook Live:

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition in a conversation about the censorship of children’s books with Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, the authors of Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice, and Laurin Mayeno and Robert Liu-Trujillo, the author and artist of One of a Kind, Like Me. Something Happened in Our Town, which examines the impact of a police shooting from the perspectives of a Black family and a White family, was one of the top ten most challenged books of 2020. One of a Kind, Like Me, which tells the story of boy who wants dress as a princess in his school costume parade, was banned in a North Carolina school district in early 2021. We’ll discuss the circumstances behind the censorship challenges to the books, how the attacks on diverse literature harm students, and what we can do to defend children’s books. Moderated by Betsy Gomez (Banned Books Week Coalition).

Something Happened in Our Town follows two families — one White, one Black — as they discuss a police shooting of a Black man in their community. The story aims to answer children’s questions about such traumatic events, and to help children identify and counter racial injustice in their own lives.

Includes an extensive Note to Parents and Caregivers with guidelines for discussing race and racism with children, child-friendly definitions, and sample dialogues.

Marianne Celano, PhD, ABPP, Marietta Collins, PhD, and Ann Hazzard, PhD, ABPP, worked together for more than two decades as Emory University School of Medicine faculty members serving children and families in Atlanta. All three psychologists have been involved in community advocacy efforts focused on children’s behavioral health and social justice.

Dr. Celano and Dr. Hazzard have developed and utilized therapeutic stories in individual and group therapy with children and teens. All three authors valued story-time with their children, who taught them important lessons about what children need from adults.

Something Happened in Our Town is their first picture book for children.

One of A Kind, Like Me / Único como yo is a sweet story about unconditional love and the beauty of individuality. It’s a unique book that lifts up children who don’t fit gender stereotypes, and reflects the power of a loving and supportive community.

Tomorrow is the school parade, and Danny knows exactly what he will be: a princess. Mommy supports him 100%, and they race to the thrift store to find his costume. It’s almost closing time – will Danny find the costume of his dreams in time?

About the Author: For more than 17 years, Laurin Mayeno has provided consulting services to numerous organizations, resulting in greater diversity, more inclusive and equitable work environments, and improved effectiveness working with diverse populations. Laurin’s experiences as a mixed race woman growing up during the social movements of the 1960s, led her to work that fosters inclusion, equity and full appreciation for cultural diversity. Her experience as the mother of a nonbinary queer child also gave her a deep appreciation for importance of responding to gender diversity, which is now a central focus of her work. Her Proud Mom videos and her bilingual children’s book One of a Kind, Like Me/Único como yo are among the resources she has developed to spark dialogue and understanding. 

About the Illustrator (from his website): Robert Liu-Trujillo is a life long Bay Area resident. Born in Oakland California, he’s the child of student activists who watched lots of science fiction and took him to many demonstrations. Always drawing, Rob grew up to be an artist falling in love with graffiti, fine art, illustration, murals, and children’s books. In that order, sort of. Through storytelling he’s been able to scratch the surface of so many untold stories. Rob is the author and illustrator of Furqan’s First Flat Top. He’s a dad of a teenage boy and a brand new baby girl. He loves ice cream and his wife who laughs big and corrects his grammar every chance she gets. Down with the system and soggy french fries!

Rob is a co-founder of The Trust Your Struggle Collective, a contributor to The Social Justice Children’s Book Holiday Fair, The Bull Horn BlogRad DadMuphoric Sounds, and the founder of Come Bien Books.

Ask Jason Reynolds Anything* (*About Banned Books)

Tuesday, September 28, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. EDT / 12:00– 1:00 p.m. CDT / 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. PDT
Facebook Live:

Join Banned Books Week Honorary Chair and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds for a conversation about censorship, young people’s literature, and the ways that books bring us together! Moderated by Emmy Award–winning writer, arts organizer, and librarian Scott Woods, this conversation will feature questions submitted by teens around the country. This livestream is free and open to all, and a great opportunity to engage your students and patrons during Banned Books Week!

Reynolds is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books for young people, including All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely), Ghost, Long Way Down, Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks, and Stamped (with Ibram X. Kendi). A multiple National Book Award finalist, Reynolds has also received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and several Coretta Scott King Award honors. Reynolds recently received the Carnegie Medal for his middle grades novel Look Both Ways. He is currently serving a two-year term as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress.

As an advocate for storytelling and an outspoken critic of censorship, Reynolds is the perfect person to headline Banned Books Week 2021, which takes place September 26 – October 2 and has the theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

#BannedBooksChat on Twitter with Laurie Halse Anderson

Wednesday, September 29, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT / 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. PDT

Join Laurie Halse Anderson, the author of the frequently challenged titles Speak and Shout, for a #BannedBooksChat on Twitter! Speak, a National Book Award finalist, appeared on ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged Books list for 2020. The sequel, Shout, was one of more than a dozen titles removed from book club reading lists this summer in Leander, Texas. We’ll discuss the censorship of Anderson’s work, the impact of censorship on young people, and the ways books unite us during this Twitter chat.

Laurie Halse Anderson is a New York Times bestselling author whose writing spans young readers, teens, and adults. Combined, her books have sold more than 8 million copies. Her new book, SHOUT, a memoir-in-verse about surviving sexual assault at the age of thirteen and a manifesta for the #MeToo era, has received widespread critical acclaim and was Laurie’s eighth New York Times bestselling book.

Two of her novels, Speak and Chains, were National Book Award finalists, and Chains was short-listed for the prestigious Carnegie medal in the United Kingdom. Laurie has been nominated for Sweden’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award three times. Laurie was selected by the American Library Association for the Margaret A. Edwards Award and has been honored for her battles for intellectual freedom by the National Coalition Against Censorship and the National Council of Teachers of English.

In addition to combating censorship, Laurie regularly speaks about the need for diversity in publishing and is a member of RAINN’s National Leadership Council. She lives in Philadelphia, where she enjoys cheesesteaks while she writes. Find out more about Laurie by following her on Twitter at @halseanderson, Instagram at halseanderson, and Facebook at lauriehalseanderson, or by visiting her website,

#BannedBooksChat on Twitter with Alex Gino

Thursday, September 30, 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. EDT / 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT / 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. PDT

Join Alex Gino, the author of George (Melissa’s Story), for a #BannedBooksChat on Twitter! Since its publication in late 2015, George (Melissa’s Story) has been an annual fixture on ALA’s Top Ten Most Challenged books list. It topped the most recent top ten, with challenges, bans, and restrictions for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.” In this Twitter chat, we’ll discuss the importance LGBTQ+ content, why it is frequently targeted by censors, and more!

From the author’s website:

Alex Gino loves glitter, ice cream, gardening, awe-ful puns, and stories that reflect the complexity of being alive. They would take a quiet coffee date with a friend over a loud and crowded party any day. A former LSAT tutor who never touched law school, Alex can still talk your ear off about sufficient and necessary conditions.

Alex has been writing stories since before they knew the alphabet, dictating stories to their parents. They have always considered themself a writer, but it wasn’t until 2014, with the sale of MELISSA’S STORY (GEORGE) that they had any idea that authoring books would be how they make their way in the world. They are grateful for the ability to spend their time and energy on something so close to their heart.

Alex has been an activist and advocate for LGBTQIAP+ communities since 1997, when they became co-chair of what was then called the LGBA at the University of Pennsylvania. (It was renamed the QSA the year after they left.) They are proud to have served on the board of NOLOSE, a fat-positive, queer, feminist organization dedicated to supporting radical fat acceptance and culture. Alex would like to thank the Black women and other amazing BIPOC folk of NOLOSE who raised their consciousness about race and how racism permeates our culture. They are currently a member of We Need Diverse Books and PEN America.

You can keep up with Alex’s adventures mostly on Twitter (@lxgino), and occasionally on Facebook (Alex Gino, Author).

How Twitter Chats Work

The # symbol, called a hashtag, is used to mark keywords in a Tweet, which makes it easy to see the full conversation on a particular topic. For our Twitter chat, we will use the hashtag #BannedBooksChat

At the time of the chat, type #BannedBooksChat into the search box at the top of your Twitter homepage to see the conversation. Listen in, watch the comments from other attendees, and speak up when you are ready!

When discussion questions are posed, they will be labeled with a Q and a number representing the order. If you are responding to a question, use an A and the number of the prompt. To ensure your comment is automatically pulled into the chat feed for others to see, be sure to include #BannedBooksChat in your Tweet.


Q1. What does advocacy look like for students in your classroom/community? What are some ways or tools that students use to amplify their voices? #BannedBooksChat

When you respond, you would tweet:

A1. [your answer] #BannedBooksChat

A huge part of Twitter chats is responding to other participants’ answers and keeping the conversation going. Because you have the questions in advance of the chat, you can have your answers ready to go if you want! Many people use a tool like TweetDeck or Hootsuite to make following Twitter chats easier.

Twitter chats move quickly! If you can’t catch everything as it’s happening, don’t worry! You can search for #BannedBooksChat to find the conversation.

Events Spotlight: September 23

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

Be sure to visit the Banned Books Week event page at, 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

Webinar: Three Ways Librarians Can Combat Censorship

Webinar • 8:00 am – 9:00 am CDT

What can librarians and educators do to help combat censorship? For public, school, and academic libraries, censorship is never a simple issue to navigate, especially when it involves parents, a board, or a fellow colleague. This year’s Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) theme is “Censorship leaves us in the dark. Keep the light on.” In a webinar hosted by ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, Index on Censorship magazine, and SAGE Publishing, three librarians, one from each type of library, will share tips for navigating censorship issues. Find out more »

Walled In

Knowledge Centre, The British Library, London, United Kingdom • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm BST

Writers consider walls in literature and in our lives. 30 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, writers consider walls in literature and in our lives. With the resurgence of interest in the boundaries and borders of nations across the world, is the symbol of that wall still potent in 2019? Do walls and censorship go hand-in-hand? And are there places where a wall could mean safety rather than segregation? With David Hare and Ben Okri. Find out more »

Banned Books Week: “Cancel Culture: Can Free Speech in Cultural Institutions Survive the Onslaught of Moral Outrage?”

Harvard Law School • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm EDT

Harvard Law School Library Presents: Banned Books Week Svetlana Mintcheva, Director of Programs at the National Coalition Against Censorship and a literary scholar and public commentator will present a talk on the effects contemporary moral outrage has on the arts and culture. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Law School Library, the ACLU at HLS, the Harvard Law School Rule of Law Society, the Law and Philosophy Society, and the Harvard Federalist Society. A non-pizza lunch will be served. Find out more »

Webinar: Banned Books Week Library Livestream — Historical Voices

Webinar • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

Andre R. Frattino (SIMON SAYS) and Sanford Green (BITTER ROOT) in conversation with Dr. Katie Monnin (Author of 8 books on teaching graphic novels, Why so serious? Productions Founder) about banned voices throughout history. Topics covered will also include the use of censorship as a mode of suppression, the erasure of dissenting voices from the historical narrative of our nation and others, and the legacy of those erasures as they affect current events.Brought to you by ALA’s Graphic Novel Comics Round Table and Intellectual Freedom Round Table, and Image Comics. Find out more »

Books on the Chopping Block

ALA Headquarters-Chicago, Chicago, IL • 1:00 pm – 2:00 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

Bridgeport 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

Frankfort Public Library, Frankfort, IL • 7:00 pm – 8:00 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 »

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret + Banned Next? Love v. Death, A New Chamber Opera

The Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg, FL • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. Sponsored by the Dramatists Guild and the Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, performances are taking place across the country during Banned Books Week, September 22-28.This Florida performance is directed by The Studio@620’s Bob Devin Jones and is a 50-minute mix of scenes and songs from plays and musicals producers have objected to, including The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), Rent, Fun Home, An Octoroon, Kleptocracy, Chicago, and Cabaret. Find out more »

Banned Together! A Philadelphia Premiere!

Parkway Central Library, PA • 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm EDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is back for its fourth year in a row and appearing for the first time in Philadelphia! The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (DLDF) created Banned Together as a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theater. The performances will feature selections from CabaretChicagoThe Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged), An Octoroon and Calendar Girls, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (OsloBlood and Gifts). Find out more »

BOSTON: Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret

Central Library in Copely Square, Boston, MA • 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund, in partnership with PEN America, presents Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret, a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages; Banned Together was created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. Previous performances have featured selections from CabaretChicagoFun HomeRent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with contextual commentary by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins). Find out more »

HOUSTON: Banned Together

Alley Theatre’s Hubbard Stage, Houston, TX • 7:30 pm – 9:30 pm CDT

The Dramatists Legal Defense Fund (“DLDF”) in partnership with PEN America is pleased to present the Fourth annual Banned Together as a part of Banned Books Week (September 22nd-28th), the annual celebration of the freedom to read. Our Houston performance is Monday, September 23, 7:30pm at the Alley Theatre, Hubbard Stage. Banned Together is a celebration of scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, and was created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression. Find out more »

CHICAGO: Banned Together

Roosevelt University, Chicago, IL • 7:30 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

Banned Together: A Censorship Cabaret is a celebration of songs and scenes from shows that have been censored or challenged on America’s stages, created to raise awareness around issues of censorship and free expression in the theatre. This is the fourth year that Banned Together will be presented in Chicago. In previous years, Banned Together has been presented in over twenty-five cities across the U.S., and will be presented in multiple cities again this year, as a part of Banned Books Week.The Chicago performance will feature selections from Cabaret, Chicago, Fun Home, Rent, and Angels in America, among other notable works, with a libretto by DLDF president John Weidman (Assassins) and J.T. Rogers (Oslo, Blood and Gifts). Find out more »

Other Events

Banned Books Week Selfie Station at Springfield City Library

Springfield City Library Central Branch, Springfield, MA • September 23 – September 29

Get caught reading a banned book! Use our background and props and your own phone to snap a photo of yourself with your favorite book from the lists of Frequently Banned and Challenged Books. Then post it to your social media to let people know you support the right to read freely! If you don’t mind us using your photo on our social media, use our hashtag, #SCLReadsFreely, and you could be featured on SCL’s Twitter or Facebook! All ages. Find out more »

Banned Books Readathon at Springfield City Library

Springfield City Library Central Branch, Springfield, MA • September 23 – September 29

We’re doing it again! Due to last year’s response, Banned Books Week this year will again include our all-ages Readathon! Can you read three banned books of your choice in a week? Sign up for our challenge and tell us what you plan on reading. For each book you finish, you get one entry into a raffle to win some cool prizes! Challenge yourself and bone up on classics old and new. Find out more »

Browne Parker Literary Press Annual Banned Books Read Out: A Celebration of Toni Morrison

Grant Park, Chicago, IL • 2:00 pm – 9:00 pm CDT

Annually since 2005, we at Browne Parker Literary Press have hosted a Banned Books Week Event, and many times Toni Morrison took the mainstage to read excerpts from The Bluest Eye, which has been challenged by many school districts and libraries. This year, to honor her legacy and to celebrate banned books, we will hold a read out exclusively featuring the works of Toni Morrison. Many local personalities will read selected excerpts from her works. Find out more »

Intellectual Freedom Fest

Marion Carnegie Library, Marion, IL • 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm CDT

Learn about intellectual freedoms, banned books week and censorship at this fun festival. Meet local authors, view the banned books week art exhibit, create a “Read Magazine” cover and more! Open to the public. Find out more »

8th Annual Banned Books Week Read-Aloud Read-a-Thon

San Diego Central Library, San Diego, CA • 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm PDT

Commemorate Banned Books Week, and join San Diego Public Library staff and community readers for the library’s annual Read-Aloud Read-a-thon. A new book and a new reader every 15-30 minutes. All are also invited to Banned Books Live! 2019, an entertaining evening of stage readings from censored books by actors from Write Out Loud, starting at 6:30pm. And while you’re here check out the historical banned books displays on the 1st and 2nd floors of the library. Find out more »

Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark — Keep the Light On: The Suppression of Thoughts, Ideas in Culture, Places, Art, and Children’s Literature

Eastern Connecticut State University, Willimantic, CT • 4:30 pm – 6:30 pm

A panel discussion about censorship in literature, art, media and prisons. This event will take place at Eastern Connecticut State University at the J. Eugene Smith Library in The Paul E.Johnson Community Conference Room. Find out more »

Banned Books Trivia

Spectators Bar & Grill, Bozeman, MT • 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm MDT

ACLU Montana, Bozeman Public Library, Country Bookshelf, and MSU Library partner to host Banned Book Trivia at Spectators Bar and Grill. Mary Ann Hansen of MSU Library will MC the event, and Chrysti the Wordsmith and Bozeman High School English teacher Heidi Robison will co-host. Find out more »

Banned Book Read-Out

Suwannee River Regional Library, Live Oak, FL • 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm EDT

For Banned Books Week, our library will be recognizing books that have been banned or challenged and will be celebrating the freedom to read whatever we choose. John Bell will be reading selections from banned classics such as Black Beauty, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Grapes of Wrath, Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and many more! Find out more »

Rayceen’s Reading Room

Cleveland Park Library, Washington DC • 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm EDT

Team Rayceen presents Rayceen’s Reading Room Hosted by Rayceen Pendarvis Kickoff event for Banned Books Week Featuring authors, poets, comedians, and more Free and open to the public! Please check @TeamRayceen on social media for announcements about guests and performers. This event will take place in the newly renovated Cleveland Park Library, in the community room, directly across from the main entrance on Connecticut Avenue NW. Doors to the community room will open by 6pm and the program will begin at 7pm. Find out more »

Banned Books Film: The Giver

Caldwell Public Library, Caldwell, ID • 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm MDT

In celebration of Banned Books Week, join us for a screening of The Giver based on the book by Lois Lowry. The Giver: Jonas (Brenton Thwaites) lives in a seemingly idyllic world of conformity and contentment. When he begins to spend time with The Giver (Jeff Bridges), an old man who is the sole keeper of the community’s memories, Jonas discovers the dangerous truths of his community’s secret past. Find out more »

Banned Books Live! 2019

San Diego Central Library, San Diego, CA • 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm PDT

During Banned Books Week, join us for an evening of forbidden knowledge in books censored in the US in 2018. Stage actors from Write Out Loud and more will perform live readings from selected books marked with the scarlet letter of censorship.  Join us for an entertaining evening of bacchanal revelry in the written word. Excerpts from the work of Toni Morrison will also be performed. Community readers are invited to read with us at the 8th Annual Banned Books Read-A-Thon earlier in the day. Find out more »

Banned Books Celebration

Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources, Valparaiso, IN • 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm CDT

Join us for an event celebrating banned books it the Christopher Center Community Room on Monday, September 23rd at 7 pm.  There will be readings from banned books, discussions about censorship and privacy, as well as related activities like blackout poetry.  Coffee and cookies will also be provided.  Censorship leaves us in the dark, so keep the the light on! Find out more »

Banned Spotlight: To Kill a Mockingbird

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird has a long history with censorship. It holds the seventh slot in the American Library Association’s top ten most challenged and banned books list for 2017, and it also appeared on the 2009 and 2011 lists. It has been challenged for the depiction of violence, offensive language, and racism.

To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in 1960, is told from the perspective of 6-year-old Jean Louise Finch, whose father Atticus defends Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, in court during the Great Depression. Despite proving that Tom is innocent, the jury convicts him of the crime. The book explores themes of racial injustice, gender roles, and the loss of innocence. It has been a perennial bestseller since its release and won the Pulitzer Prize. It was also adapted into an Academy Award-winning film in 1962.

In 2017, To Kill a Mockingbird was removed mid-lesson from 8th grade classrooms in Biloxi, Mississippi, over complaints about language in the book, in particular the use of the N-word. The parent who filed the complaint was concerned about her daughter, who is black, and her classmates’ response to the book, which reportedly included laughter over the use of the slur. The complainant did not ask for the removal of the book, and the actions of school officials appeared to be in violation of the district’s materials reconsideration policy. The district maintained the act wasn’t censorship because the novel remained available in school libraries. After protest from free speech advocates, the book was restored to optional reading lists, but parental permission is required to read it.

In early 2018, To Kill a Mockingbird and Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn were removed from required reading in the Duluth, Minnesota, school district over the use of racial slurs. The removal wasn’t triggered by a specific challenge in this case, instead resulting from the accumulation of complaints over the course of several years. District teachers were not consulted in the decision. Free expression advocates protested the unilateral removal, calling on the district to include those best positioned to make decisions about educational content in future curricula review.

Find more of ALA OIF’s top ten challenged and banned lists here.