Tag: censorship

Watch Party: “Scary Stories” Documentary

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.

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 page

In early 2020, Portugal. The Man joined 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 — I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien — 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.

During this hourlong livestream, we’ll talk with Portugal. The Man about why they took action, the role of communities in fighting censorship, and the importance of access to information. We’ll close with a short Q&A. The event will be moderated by Nora Pelizzari (Director of Communications, NCAC) and Betsy Gomez (Coordinator, Banned Books Week Coalition).

How will this work?

  1. Make sure you like the National Coalition Against Censorship on Facebook.
  2. At 6:00 p.m. EDT on September 29, 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 NCAC’s Facebook page to access the event.

About PORTUGAL. THE MAN

Portugal. The Man took 2017 by the horns after a considerably long gap between records. They spent years working on an album called Gloomin + Doomin before later developing what would become known as their latest studio album WOODSTOCK. Fate struck lead singer John Gourley twice. First, John got some parental tough love from his old man. “What’s taking so long to finish the album?” John’s dad asked. “Isn’t that what bands do? Write songs and then put them out?” The whole thing got John thinking about why the band seemed to be stuck on a musical elliptical machine from hell and more importantly, about how to get off of it. Second, John found his dad’s ticket stub from the original 1969 Woodstock music festival, which ultimately knocked something loose in his head. He realized that, in the same tradition of bands from that era, Portugal. The Man needed to speak out about the world crumbling around them.

With these two ideas converging, the band made a seemingly bat-shit-crazy decision: they took all of the work they had done for the three years prior and threw it out. The band went back to the studio — working with John Hill, Danger Mouse and longtime collaborator Casey Bates. In this new-found creative territory, the album that became WOODSTOCK rolled out naturally from there. Fast forward to present day and it was impossible to escape the album’s first single, “Feel It Still,” which dominated the charts and radio airwaves in 2017. The 4X Platinum Certified hit reigned at #1 at nearly all radio formats, including Top 40, as well as Alternative, where the song held the chart’s top spot for a mind-blowing 20 weeks, breaking the record for most weeks at #1. Yes, you read that right. Five guys from Wasilla, Alaska, who have played nearly 1,500 shows in their career, broke Alternative radio records and had a #1 song at Pop radio. Billboard Magazine even went as far as to call the song “the unexpected rock crossover hit of 2017,” while Rolling Stone listed it as “one of the best songs of 2017.” AND THEN…the band kicked off 2018 by winning a GRAMMY Award for “Feel It Still.”

About the PTM Foundation

PTM Foundation is focused on building community resilience, empathy, and awareness through music, stories, art, education and connectivity. They aim to convene and organize partnerships and projects informed by community need, then mobilize Portugal. The Man’s listeners and supporters around that shared vision.

While their advocacy, philanthropy, and community engagement work is primarily centered around universal issues related to human rights, community health, and the environment, this organization puts a specific focus on highlighting the stories of Indigenous Peoples, and they are committed to helping bring these sacred voices — often the most informed, yet silenced among us — to the forefront.

About the National Coalition Against Censorship

The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) promotes freedom of thought, inquiry, and expression and opposes censorship in all its forms. Since 1974, NCAC has engaged in direct advocacy, education, research and analysis to support the principles of the First Amendment. A coalition of over 50 national non-profits, NCAC’s alliance includes literary, artistic, education, and civil liberties groups. NCAC is national in scope, but often local in their approach, engaging with a nationwide network of advocates and supporting local activism. NCAC works with community members to resolve censorship controversies without the need for litigation.

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.

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/

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

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.

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…

Local Pastors Attempt to Ban Books from Banned Books Display at Maine Public Library

Banned books display at Rumford Public Library (via Twitter user Katje Fae @katjefae)

A group of pastors in Rumford, Maine are attempting to have LGBTQ books banned from the Rumford Public Library’s display of banned books. The library is holding a board meeting today, where the controversy will be discussed. The National Coalition Against Censorship and Comic Book Legal Defense Fund support Rumford Public Library’s display and freedom to choose how best to serve their community. NCAC and CBLDF oppose efforts to limit a whole community’s access to books based on the personal viewpoints or religious beliefs of some groups or individuals in that community. As public institutions, libraries are obligated not to discriminate on the basis of viewpoint or sexual orientation.

The display coincides with Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read, highlighting books that often draw challenges in schools and libraries. Half of the books on this year’s American Library Association Top 10 Banned Books list tell stories of LGBTQ characters. Books representing a wide variety of experiences and voices allow readers, particularly children, to find connection, safely explore unfamiliar ideas, and broaden their understanding of the world.

This article was originally posted by the National Coalition Against Censorship. The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund has posted additional information and a statement from Executive Director Charles Brownstein here.

Banned Spotlight: The Kite Runner

Khaled Hosseini’s acclaimed debut novel The Kite Runner has sold millions of copies and inspired a popular film, but the book has been met with several challenges since its 2003 release. In 2017, it was the fourth most challenged book according to the American Library Association. It was challenged for sexual violence, and Islamophobia fueled some challenges, with would-be censors arguing that the novel would inspire terrorism and promoted Islam. The book also appeared on the top ten lists for 2014 (offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence), 2012 (homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit), and 2008 (offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group).

The protagonist of The Kite Runner is Amir, the son of a wealthy businessman, who befriends Hassan, the son of one of his father’s servants, in 1970s Afghanistan. The story transitions in time between pre-revolution Afghanistan and the 1990s, when Amir, now a successful novelist in the United States, learns that Hassan and his wife have been killed by the Taliban. As Amir sets out to Kabul to rescue Hassan’s son Sohrab, he contends with the repercussions of his childhood betrayal of Hassan. Since publication, the book has been embraced in educational settings as a way to address the abuse of power, themes of redemption, the immigrant experience, and Afghani history.

In 2017, The Kite Runner was notably challenged in two locales. The book was suddenly pulled from the curriculum district-wide in Gilbert, Arizona, when the Hugley Unified School District informed teachers that the book would not longer be used in classrooms or for independent reading shortly before Grade 10 honors English students were set to begin studying it. A reason wasn’t given, and the school claimed that it was because the book hadn’t been properly vetted, but student journalists determined otherwise, learning that the book had been approved and in use for five years already. The book did not undergo district review processes.

Later in the year, a school board member in Fishers, Indiana, vocally protested the inclusion of The Kite Runner in AP Literature and Composition courses after her daughter had been assigned the novel. Unlike Gilbert, the district undertook the appropriate challenge and review policies. The Kite Runner has also been challenged in North Carolina and Wisconsin, and it was recently red-flagged in California in violation of state law.

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