Find Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week 2020!

In turbulent times, books are tools that help people navigate the world around them. Intellectual freedom and access to information uplift people in crisis and during more peaceful times, so the Banned Books Week Coalition invites you to champion the right to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020! 

Join the Banned Books Week Coalition at 1:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, April 22, for a special Facebook Live conversation about the 2020 theme and censorship with Laurie Halse Anderson (author of the frequently challenged novel Speak) and an exclusive statement from David Levithan (author of the challenged novel Two Boys Kissing)! https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek/

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped people recognize and navigate censorship, and the battle for free expression is unending. Reading brings people together, but censorship drives us apart. The theme of this year’s event, “Censorship Is a Dead End,” is a reminder that we need to fight censorship to “Find Our Freedom to Read.” This year’s celebration embraces a maze motif, an attainable and customizable idea that offers publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and others an opportunity to engage with their communities in a variety of ways, from passive programing to big events.

In recognition of National Library Week (April 19 – 25, 2020), the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019. This list highlights the ways in which curtailing reading materials makes the world smaller. In 2019, ALA tracked nearly 377 attempts to censor library, school, and university materials and services, encompassing 566 books that were challenged or banned. The list includes books that can help readers, especially young people, understand and navigate tough situations, such as George by Alex Gino; Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin; Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth; I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas; and Drama by Raina Telgemeier. 

“Books can help young people and readers of all ages explore worlds, lives, and experiences beyond their own,” says Nora Pelizzari, director of communications for the National Coalition Against Censorship. “This exploration is crucial in learning to think critically and independently and to navigate ourselves through life. Limiting access to ideas hurts everyone, and particularly students. Banned Books Week gives us a chance to champion the diverse ideas books let us explore.”

Libraries and schools aren’t the only institutions impacted by censorship, and Banned Books Week is an opportunity for many to engage their communities in a conversation about attempts to stifle creativity. 

According to David Grogan, director for American Booksellers for Free Expression, the bookseller’s voice for free expression, “Banned Books Week is one of the most important events of the year for independent booksellers. It provides booksellers a crucial opportunity to promote conversations about controversial books. Customers are often surprised to hear that book banning still continues to this day, and Banned Books Week is a tremendous way to highlight the importance of the freedom to read.”

Find your freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 27 – October 3, 2020! The Banned Books Week Coalition is here to support your celebration of reading, with programming ideas, promotional materials, and other resources! Visit https://bannedbooksweek.org/ or follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter to get the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news. 

Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the issues facing America’s libraries at http://www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2020

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.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek 

Find Your Freedom to Read Instagram: @banned_books_week

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