Now more than ever, we need more — not less — authentic racial and ethnic representation in our school texts. To push back against this growing censorship movement, Ed Trust is hosting a conversation, Why We Need More (Not Less) Complex Racial and Ethnic Representation in Grade School Books, to discuss the challenges of the current educational landscape, key findings from our study, The Search for More Complex Racial and Ethnic Representation in Grade School Books, and takeaways that help move curricula development toward representational balance.
We are celebrating our freedom to read with Banned Books Trivia in the store on Friday, October 6!
Grab a group of free-minded souls to test your knowledge of history, culture, and censorship as it pertains to banned and challenged books. Teams will spread out throughout the store and take part in 5 rounds of cut-throat (not really) trivia. Even if you think you know nothing about banned books, you will surprise yourself — and you just may win a prize!
“Every burned book enlightens the world!”
Instead of an entry fee, we are asking teams to bring a challenged or banned book (gently used or purchased brand new from our store) to donate to our Hygge House Book Nooks in the city of Worcester.
The Loutit District is celebrating Banned Books “Week” for the entire month of October! We have a wonderful interactive educational display for patrons to learn more about book challenges and bans. In addition to our display, book recommendations, and Banned Book programming, we are also hosting a Beanstack reading challenge to get patrons involved! There will be two randomly drawn winners of a Banned Books prize pack from those who complete the challenge.
Silent Book Club is a unique and relaxing social gathering that combines the joy of reading with the pleasure of shared company. Participants come together to read silently, followed by lively discussions (if they choose) about the books they’ve read. It’s the perfect blend of solitude and social interaction for book enthusiasts of all kinds.
ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracks attempts to ban or restrict access to books. More than 273 titles were challenged or banned in 2020, with increasing demands to remove books that address racism and racial justice or 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.
ALA also analyzed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on American libraries in their State of America’s Libraries Report 2021, with Director of Communications and Marketing Office Stephanie Hlywak noting that “Nothing about 2020 was business as usual in any part of American society, and libraries and their workers, users, and services were all deeply impacted by the pandemic.”
Libraries proved resilient in the pandemic, adapting to a new way of business and finding novel ways to serve their communities amid shutdowns, stay-at-home orders, and other challenges. Many libraries became tech hubs for remote learning, guiding teachers, students, and parents in the use of new technologies and tools.
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.