The First Amendment is one powerful tool to fight book bans, but the legal issues are increasingly complex. State and local legislatures and courts have become heavily involved in both book banning and the prevention of book bans in recent years.
Join us for a discussion with Cheryl Davis, general counsel of the Authors Guild, who will explain the legal issues to know about book bans and her organization’s advocacy work to protect free speech and access to books. Heather Fleming, founder of grassroots organization Missouri Equity Education Partnership, will talk about the myths and realities of book bans today.
A Q&A will follow the presentation; you can pre-submit a question when registering for the event. A recording will be made available for those who cannot attend live.
The event will take place via Zoom with automatic closed captioning. To request any other accessibility features, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will make every effort to accommodate.
Banned Books Week is kicking off with events, events, and more events! The Banned Books Week Coalition is delighted to have Youth Honorary Chair Cameron Samuels leading a chat with other youth activists, and the members of the Coalition have some exciting things in store for today! Keep reading for look at what we’re up to today…
For a complete event listing, please visit our events calendar here.
What is it like to be the only teen protesting censorship at school board meetings? How do you go from being the only voice of opposition to leading the fight against censorship in your community – and inspiring others to do the same? In this program, Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Cameron Samuels (they/them) … Read More
Maia Kobabe’s Gender Queer: A Memoir achieved resounding victory in the Virginia courts. Join CBLDF for an inside look at the case from Maia’s legal representation in Virginia Beach, Jeff Trexler (CBLDF Interim Director) and Steven Emmert. Learn the roots of the case, its progression through the legal system, and why the case was dismissed. This event is a great … Read More
The books that are most frequently targeted for censorship are those that capture the attention of younger readers, which leaves many of them confused about the validity of their interests, their personal identities, and their First Amendment rights. This program will examine the censorship of content for young people and their rights from the perspective … Read More
What is the impact on authors when their books are banned from schools, libraries, and elsewhere? What challenges do they face? Does it affect sales or marketing? Does it change what or how they write going forward, or impact their ability to sell their next book? Much of the public discourse focuses on the politics … Read More
Join PEN Across America, Mount Vernon Public Library, and Banned Book Week Chairs Alyssa Gómez Lawrence and Debbie Nabubwaya Chambers on Monday, September 19 at 7:00 PM for an online discussion of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel, Fahrenheit 451 and the issues the book raises around censorship and free expression. About Fahrenheit 451: Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to destroy the … Read More
The Banned Books Week Coalition is delighted to announce our theme for the 2021 celebration of the right to read: “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” The annual event will take place September 26 – October 2, 2021.
With a central image showing two hands sharing a book, the 2021 theme is intended to be inclusive and emphasizes the ways in which books and information bring people together, help individuals see themselves in the stories of others, and aid the development of empathy and understanding for people from other backgrounds.
The Coalition announces the Banned Books Week theme in conjunction with National Library Week and the release of the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books list. This year’s list includes titles that address racism and racial justice, as well as those that shared the stories of Black, Indigenous, or people of color. As with previous years, LGBTQ+ content also dominated the list:
George by Alex Gino. Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote antipolice views.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an antipolice message.
Please visit bannedbooksweek.org and follow our social media for updates on Coalition events and resources. You’ll also find print and digital assets, publications, and more to help you plan and promote your event, and we will be adding even more resources in the coming months!
If you need posters, bookmarks, buttons, or other physical materials for your Banned Books Week celebration, visit the ALA webstore!
Finally, the Coalition maintains a free public events page for happenings around the world. Anyone hosting an event or putting up a display is encouraged to visit https://bannedbooksweek.org/events/ to have it included on the list.
Join us for the celebration of the ways in which books unite us during Banned Books Week, September 26 – October 2, 2021!
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.
Banned Books Week is an annual event that highlights the value of free and open access to information. The event is supported by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, including American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Banned Books Week Sweden, Children’s Book Council, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, Little Free Library, National Book Foundation, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN America, People For the American Way Foundation, PFLAG, 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 HarperCollins Publishers and Penguin Random House.