Tag: censorship

Banned Books Week Goes to Sweden!

Banned Books Week has found a new home: Sweden! The Swedish celebration of the right to read takes place on October 9–15, 2023. Banned Books Week Sweden will highlight literature that is or has been banned in different parts the world.

The week is coordinated by Swedish PEN in partnership with the Dawit Isaak-library in Malmö and is done in proud collaboration with libraries, bookshops, schools, and organizations from all over the country. Banned Books Week Sweden has the commitment of more than 200 participating organizations, with additional requests to join coming in every hour.

Even if the situation in Sweden differs from the surge in book bans that has occurred in the United States, Sweden is experiencing an escalating level of hate speech and threats directed at those who write, and the public discourse is becoming more polarized. This week, DIK — the union for people who work within culture, communications, and the creative sector — released a report stating that 28% of librarians have experienced pressure during the last two years from members of the public or politicians to influence what books are available in the library or what activities are carried out[1] .

But the raison d’être for Banned Books Week Sweden is also found in international connectedness. If books are being banned in other parts of the world, it affects us all. When information is restricted, people are left with a more dangerous and polarized world where antidemocratic forces can gain ground.

And as the charter of PEN states: “Literature knows no frontiers.” International solidarity and collaboration have been a core value of PEN’s work for more than 100 years. With Banned Books Week Sweden, we are proud to find new methods to celebrate this legacy in a way that encourages more people to get involved in discussing and working against the threats against freedom of expression. For the Dawit Isaak Library – which collect and make available banned and censured books to the public all year round – this campaign raises awareness of banned books and the library’s mission.

Please check out the hashtag #bannedbooksweeksverige to find out more about what is happening in classrooms, book shops and libraries this week.

Hanna Nordell, Managing Director PEN Sweden

Emelie Ive, Manager of the Dawit Isaak Library


[1] https://assets.ctfassets.net/vkygthqfrquy/4XAqPMx12j0lM2k3p6JEa/9e216bbbdd03f57b0db7c4e84a6b2787/Biblioteksrapport_2023.pdf

Saturday Is Let Freedom Read Day!

With book bans on the rise, it is absolutely essential that people do something — anything — to defend books from censorship in their communities. This final day of Banned Books Week is Let Freedom Read Day — do at least one thing today to fight censorship! Keep reading for day of action ideas and more Banned Books Week programs!

Spotlight: Let Freedom Read Day

The freedom to read is under attack — let’s do something about it! Whether you have 5 minutes or an hour or more, there’s plenty you can do to fight. Visit the Let Freedom Read Day page for ideas, a downloadable one-sheet, and social media assets that you can use to let the world know you took action today!

Show us how you’re taking action on social media by using the hashtags #LetFreedomReadDay and #BannedBooksWeek!

And don’t forget: Censorship won’t stop just because Banned Books Week does — you can take action any day of the year!

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The New Republic: THE BANNED BOOKS TOUR 2023

John H. Dickerson Community Center, 308 Dr. MLK Jr. Blvd., Daytona Beach, FL • 10:00 am – 2:00 pm EDT

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.

Banned Camp Presents: The Magic Power of Reading

BookPeople 603 N Lamar Blvd, Austin, TX, United States • 10:30 am – 2:00 pm CDT

In partnership with Book People, The Child Defense Fund of Texas, and the Austin Public Library, PEN America Austin will celebrate Banned Book Month 2023 on October 7 at Book People by demonstrating the magical power of reading. With legislature like Texas House Bill 900 threatening students’ access to books, PEN Austin is inviting local writers, readers, and free expression advocates to honor the magic of their unique stories.

This day of celebration for the magical power of reading will have two sections that will allow Austin residents to reflect on how integral books are to our identity and our ability to express ourselves. Staff from the CDF and APL will be on hand to supply writers, readers, and free expression advocates of all ages with the materials and knowledge to produce their own zine and bookmarks via a production workshop. Magician Nicole Cardoza will demonstrate the transformative power of words with a magic show. Lastly, the PEN America Freedom to Read team will present research findings about the book ban crisis and its effects on Texas students, schools, libraries, and booksellers. PEN America will be joined by local coalition leaders who are pushing back against book bans in defense of the freedom to read. Leaders like Carolyn Foote of FReadom Fighters will talk about ways to get involved locally in your own schools and communities.

The Banned Wagon Tour: Houston

Kindred Stories 2304 Stuart Street, Houston, TX • 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm CDT

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!

18th Annual BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK

River Forest Public Library, 735 Lathrop Ave., River Forest, IL • 2:00 p.m. CDT

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.

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 (littlefreelibrary.org/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 (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

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!

Friday Events for Banned Books Week

It may be the penultimate day of Banned Books Week, but there’s still plenty to do! Today’s edition of City Lit Theater’s Books on the Chopping Block is also available virtually! If you’re in New York City, brush up on your banned books trivia. Keep reading for more info.

Are you ready to take action to fight book bans?! Tomorrow is Let Freedom Read Day! We’re asking everyone everyone to do at least one thing to help fight book bans! Get ideas and resources here. (Protip: Bookmark the page so you can take action any day of the year!)

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

18th Annual BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK

In-Person & Virtual • DePaul University Library, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL • 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm CDT

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.”

Friday, October 6, 2023 at 1:00PM – DePaul University Library, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL
*This performance is also available to view remotely.  Register free here.

Banned Books Week Panel & Trivia Sponsored by the NYC Book Hoes & Woodhull Freedom Foundation

66 Greenpoint Bar 66 Greenpoint Ave, Brooklyn, NY, United States • 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm EDT

Join your fellow book hoes for a night in celebration of Banned Books during Banned Book Week. The Woodhull Foundation in collaboration with NYC Book Club for Book Hoes will be hosting a panel discussion on banned books followed by a banned books trivia.

All attendees will receive a free copy of a banned book provided by Penguin Random House.

The night will begin with our panel of three speakers moderated by Mandy Salley, the Chief Operating Officer at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. Trivia will be run by Zoë Mahler, creator of NYC Book Club for Book Hoes. 

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 (littlefreelibrary.org/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 (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

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!

Banned Books Week Thursday: Student Advocates Show Us How It’s Done

It’s Thursday, and Banned Books Week is running strong with student advocates! Hot off his livestream with Honorary Chair LeVar Burton, Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels will take the spotlight today with a program featuring student leaders from around the country!

Also in the mix today: The Banned Wagon hits the Big Easy, the online debut of Ibram X. Kendi’s moving Rally for the Right to Read speech, Carmen Maria Machado on banned books, Reading with Love, children’s book authors on fighting censorship, and more!

Are you ready to take action to fight book bans?! Saturday is Let Freedom Read Day, and we’re asking everyone everyone to do at least one thing to help fight book bans! Get ideas and resources here. (Protip: Bookmark the page so you can take action any day of the year!)

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

Youth Honorary Chair Spotlight

A Seat at the Table: Youth Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

Virtual Event • 7:00 – 8:00 p.m. CDT

Some of the strongest voices in the fight against book bans are the students that censors claim they are protecting. Join Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for an inspiring roundtable discussion about youth advocacy in South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas, and how that work can inform opposition to censorship around the country. Join us on Facebook (@BannedBooksWeek) or register here.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The Banned Wagon Tour: New Orleans

Baldwin & Co 1030 Elysian Fields Avenue, New Orleans, LA • 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. CDT

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!

Rally for the Right to Read: A Banned Books Week Event

Virtual Event • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. CDT

Join Penguin Random House, Booklist, and Unite Against Book Bans for a special Banned Books Week event as we premiere the video of Ibram X. Kendi’s motivating and moving speech from Rally for the Right to Read at the 2023 ALA Annual Conference. Introduced by Tracie D. Hall, Executive Director of the American Library Association, in conversation with Chris Jackson, EVP, Publisher, & Editor-in-Chief of One World—this hour-long webinar will celebrate the right to read and librarians’ role in providing access for all. Representatives from Unite Against Book Bans will also join the webinar to share resources and offer a myriad of ways that viewers can join in the fight for the freedom to read.

Ten lucky LIVE webinar attendees will win a full set of Ibram X. Kendi’s books for their library. Register now!

Carmen Maria Machado on Banned Books

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT • 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. MDT

Join PEN Utah on October 5th as Carmen Maria Machado joins the Tanner Humanities Center for a Banned Books Week conversation about her work and being an LGBTQIA+ author. She will be joined by Jeremy Rosen, Associate Director for Faculty at the Tanner Humanities Center and Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Utah.

Book signing to follow. Books will be available to purchase from Under the Umbrella Bookstore.

Reading with Love: A Virtual Drag Read Aloud of Children’s Banned Books

Virtual Event • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. EDT

As anti-LGBTQ+ legislation sweeps the nation, our schools, libraries, and other story-telling spaces are being attacked on the basis of “protecting the children.” Countless books have been banned as a result, attempting to block—and thereby, extinguish—any mention of LGBTQ+ experiences and identities.

But these books go beyond LGBTQ+ narratives—they’re glowing messages of love and role models for living life as your best, most authentic self.

In what world should these messages be censored?

On October 5, from 6-7 pm ET, we’re sharing these messages of love through the voices of our most vivacious, glamorous, and fearless community members: drag artists. Bringing these stories to life are local drag talent Coco Sho-Nell, Emi Grate, Mister Max, and Nancy Nogood, whose authenticity in themselves mirrors the authenticity in these stories.

The Reading with Love Live broadcast is a family-friendly read aloud geared towards children ages 5-8, with topics including the gender binary, trans children, parents of the same gender, and the history of the Gay Pride flag.

Let’s come together and help our kids see a bright and loving future.

Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning

Virtual Event • 6:00 – 7:00 p.m. CDT

The American Library Association (ALA) and the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) have joined forces to inform and educate the public about the challenges with book banning in the United States. The special edition SCBWI digital workshop, entitled “Free People Read Freely: How Children’s Book Creatives Can Fight Book Banning” will take place on Thursday, October 5, at 4 pm PT / 7 pm ET on Zoom. Click here to register. This digital workshop is free and open to the public.

SCBWI will host speaker Joyce McIntosh, Assistant Program Director for the Freedom to Read Foundation (FTRF), an organization dedicated to First Amendment education, litigation, and advocacy. McIntosh will discuss ways creators of books for children, teens, and young adults can address the current surge in challenges to books for young people.

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 (littlefreelibrary.org/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 (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

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!

Banned Books Week Wednesday is LeVar Burton Day!

Today is the day! Our Honorary Chair LeVar Burton will join us live on Facebook for a conversation with our Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels. Don’t miss this knowledge! You can also catch programs with John Green (The Fault in Our Stars), Mike Curato (Flamer), Brad Meltzer (I Am Rosa Parks), and more. Keep reading for details…

TOMORROW: Don’t miss our A Seat at the Table, a conversation with youth advocates lead by Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels! The event starts at 8:00 p.m. EDT. You can register here.

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

Honorary Chair Event

LeVar Burton LIVE on Facebook in Conversation with Da’Taeveyon Daniels

Facebook Live Event • 8:00 p.m. EDT

Actor, director, literacy advocate—and Banned Books Week 2023 Honorary Chair—LeVar Burton will discuss his anti-censorship work with Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels during this rare live event, which will stream on Facebook.

Follow @BannedBooksWeek, and join us October 4, 2023, at 8:00 p.m. EDT / 7:00 p.m. CDT / 6:00 p.m. MDT / 5:00 p.m. PDT.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Rescuing Our World From the Harms of Censorship: Providing Access to Information in Unprecedented Times

Virtual Event • 8:30 am – 10:00 am CDT

This year IFLA’s Management of Library Associations (MLAS), in collaboration with the Freedom of Access to Information and Freedom of Expression Advisory Committee (FAIFE), will be organizing a webinar to discuss access to information under siege across the world, as well as best practices and strategies from library associations and librarians.  

As in previous years, this October 1-7 of 2023, we commemorate “Banned Books Week,” an initiative from the American Library Association that seeks to bring together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.

Librarians across the world are facing unprecedented situations related to the defense of access to information and intellectual freedom. Library leaders from different regions will be taking a look at the current global situation, discussing how to manage crises, and how to build support networks for libraries and librarians. As part of the event, resources developed by library associations will be shared on the event’s page.

Authors and Advocates on Fighting Book Bans

Virtual Event • 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm CDT

The last few years have seen an unparalleled attack on the right to read and organized campaigns against certain types of literature and programming in public and school libraries. No one person or organization can face this fight alone, and we all need to take direct action to combat censorship. Join author John Green (Looking for AlaskaThe Fault in Our Stars), writer and illustrator Mike Curato (Flamer), librarian and Texas FReadom Fighters co-founder Becky Calzada, and Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Da’Taeveyon Daniels for a conversation about the impact of book bans and the ways in which they have taken action to fight censorship. The program will close with a short Q&A. Sign up here.

NYC Day Of Action: Protect The Freedom To Read!

Virtual Event • 10:00 a.m. EDT

2023 has seen a steep rise in book bans and censorship in classrooms and school libraries across the United States.

Queens Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, and the New York Public Library are dedicated to free and open access to information and knowledge—a mission that is directly opposed to censorship.

On Wednesday, October 4, during Banned Books Week, New York City’s libraries invite you to join us on social media in support of the freedom to read!

Books can build bridges, introduce us to new perspectives, and show us we are not alone.

Join us on October 4 to celebrate the power of books, reading, and public libraries—and stand for the #FreedomToRead!

More info on ways to participate

The New Republic: THE BANNED BOOKS TOUR 2023

MLK Library, 901 G St NW, Washington DC • 11:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. EDT

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.

FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @newrepublic #TNRBookmobile #TNRStandsWithTheBanned and Eventbrite.

Oct 4—Washington, D.C.

11 a.m.–3 p.m. // MLK Library, 901 G St NW

Woman Life Freedom – with Malu Halasa & guests

London – Hatchards – Piccadilly 187 Piccadilly, London, United Kingdom • 8:00 p.m. BST

Join Malu Halasa and Ramita Navai here at Hatchards this evening for an event chaired by Index on Censorship editor-in-chief Jemimah Steinfeld to celebrate the launch of the book “Woman Life Freedom”.

The murder of Mahsa Amini on 16 September 2022 by Iran’s morality police sent shockwaves throughout the country. Protests led by women spread to ninety cities in all of Iran’s provinces. Videos on social media showed women in the streets with their hair uncovered, burning headscarves and even cutting their own long hair. Men soon joined the protests. Schoolgirls defaced portraits of religious leaders. Cries of Zan Zendegi Azadi in Farsi – Woman Life Freedom – echoed in mass demonstrations, which continue today. Woman Life Freedom captures this historic moment in artwork and first-person accounts by courageous women, including those too scared to reveal their true identities because of a repressive and vindictive regime. Featuring art, music and photography from the protests, this moving and inspiring anthology exposes hardship, hope and empowerment in modern-day Iran.

As part of the launch of Woman Life Freedom, marking Banned Books Week, this event will discuss the Iran protests over the last year and will ask what has happened. With reports of the morality police back on the streets and protesters locked away, some even executed, what positive change has occurred, if any? The event will also launch Index’s Autumn Magazine, which covers the rise of the religious right, religious blasphemy and its impact on freedom of expression, with a focus on Iran amongst other countries.

Resisting Censorship: The Children’s & Young Adult Book Banning Crisis

Books & Books 265 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL, United States • 8:00 pm – 9:30 pm EDT

LGBTQ-themed books are under profound attack in the United States. They are challenged in droves and are decreed off-limits by school boards, legislators, and prison authorities. In PEN’s report “Banned in the USA: The Mounting Pressure to Censor,” during the 2022–23 school year, PEN America recorded 3,362 instances of books banned, an increase of 33 percent from the 2021–22 school year, with over 40 percent of all book bans occurring in school districts in Florida. 78% of the books banned are listed as young adult, middle grade, and picture books.

Join PEN Miami/South Florida and Books & Books for a vital conversation with New York Times bestselling author Brad Meltzer, whose books I am Rosa Parks and I am Martin Luther King Jr. have been challenged in schools across the country, and author Camryn Garrett, whose books feature celebrations of blackness and queerness. They will discuss the movement to ban books by and about LGBTQ people, particularly books aimed at younger audiences, and how to resist the censorship taking over our schools and libraries.

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 (littlefreelibrary.org/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 (littlefreelibrary.org/books/).

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!

Let Freedom Read: A Conversation On The Power Of Books

Join us for a panel discussion on books, censorship, and intellectual freedom with indie bookseller Nicole Sullivan and library director Dennis Quinn. This is a hybrid event; attend in-person at Arapahoe Community College Littleton Campus or virtually via Zoom at https://arapahoe-edu.zoom.us/j/82762544445

Nicole Sullivan is the owner of The Bookies bookstore and BookBar Press. She is also the President and founder of BookGiver, a non-profit providing Colorado individuals and organizations with gently used book donations.

Dennis Quinn is the Library Director for the Edwin A Bemis Public Library in Littleton, CO, where he has served since June 2023. Prior to this role, he was involved in public library administration in Texas for more than a decade. He holds an MS in Library Science from the University of North Texas.

Arweave Archives: An Uncensorable Repository for Banned Books

About the event:

In an age where digital information is increasingly controlled and even erased, the value of preserving data cannot be overstated. This talk emerges as a potent event aimed at illuminating the promise of blockchain technology, particularly Arweave, in preserving the content that might otherwise be lost to censorship. Hosted by Andrew Nielsen (a.k.a. MC Lars) this talk, underscores the significance of censored literature. Real-world contexts will be provided with mentions of Hong Kong’s Apple Daily’s archival on Arweave and Arweave’s role in preserving data on the Russia-Ukraine conflict and an explanation Arweave as a decentralized ‘permaweb’, discussing its myriad features and benefits.

About the speaker: 

Andrew Nielsen is an advocacy of digital rights and literature within hip-hop and the nerdcore subgenre. A Stanford alumnus, Nielsen’s advocacy for open information dissemination is highlighted in his track “Download This Song.” Furthermore, as an originator of “lit-hop”, he merges literary influences, from Shakespeare to Edgar Allan Poe, within his music. His work as the creative director at PDS is reinforced by his passion for the intersection of Creative Commons advocacy and literary expression.

Banned Books Read-a-Thon

Read a short passage from your favorite banned or challenged book to celebrate the freedom to read! Don’t want to read? Join the audience!

Banned Books Week and Enchanted Books

Stop in and shop, grab some swag, and get 15% off all banned books! Check out our display, read the conversation cards and shelf talkers and let us know what you think!

Banned Books Week and Enchanted Books

Stop in and shop, grab some swag, and get 15% off all banned books! Check out our display, read the conversation cards and shelf talkers and let us know what you think!

Banned Books Week and Enchanted Books

Stop in and shop, grab some swag, and get 15% off all banned books! Check out our display, read the conversation cards and shelf talkers and let us know what you think!

Banned Books Week and Enchanted Books

Stop in and shop, grab some swag, and get 15% off all banned books! Check out our display, read the conversation cards and shelf talkers and let us know what you think!

Banned Books Week and Enchanted Books

Stop in and shop, grab some swag, and get 15% off all banned books! Check out our display, read the conversation cards and shelf talkers and let us know what you think!

Banned Books Week Panel & Trivia Sponsored by the NYC Book Hoes & Woodhull Freedom Foundation

Join you fellow book hoes for a night in celebration of Banned Books during Banned Book Week. The Woodhull Foundation in collaboration with NYC Book Club for Book Hoes will be hosting a panel discussion on banned books followed by a banned books trivia.

All attendees will receive a free copy of a banned book provided by Penguin Random House.

The night will begin with our panel of three speakers moderated by Mandy Salley, the Chief Operating Officer at the Woodhull Freedom Foundation. Trivia will be run by Zoë Mahler, creator of NYC Book Club for Book Hoes. For more on our esteemed panelists, read below.

WHEN: Friday, Oct. 6th 7-9:30pm

WHERE: 66 Greenpoint Bar

PANELISTS:

Madison Markham is the Program Assistant for the Freedom to Read Program at PEN America. She received a BA in Sociology/Gender Studies from New College of Florida, where she received a Margaret Bates Award for her honors thesis on the role of queer student culture within higher education. Following politically motivated restrictions to academic freedom at New College, she helped lead student organizing efforts to protect free expression and inclusivity at the college, including co-hosting the [NEW] Commencement alternative graduation. During her time as an undergraduate, she also served as a Research Assistant for Dr. Sarah Hernandez and interned for the Margaret Good for Congress (FL-16) campaign.

Christine Emeran is Director of the Youth Free Expression Program at the New York based non-profit, National Coalition Against Censorship (ncac.org). She writes on contemporary issues about young people, social media and social movements in the U.S. and Western/Eastern Europe. A Fulbright Research Fellow, international researcher as well as an academic, Dr. Emeran has taught political theory and sociology at Manhattan College, NY, St. John’s University, NY, and Sciences Po Paris, France. She received her PhD in sociology from the New School for Social Research in New York.

Leigh Hurwitz is Collections Manager at Brooklyn Public Library, and part of the library’s Books Unbanned team. When not restoring young adult access to queer books, they can be found volunteering at Interference Archive, listening to WFMU, or watching body horror.

Family Fun Day: Banned Books Week

Join us for an event honoring Banned Books Week 2023! This year, we are celebrating books, reading, and freedom of speech with the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and volunteers from their Student Advocates for Speech program. Explore a full day’s worth of activities across the Museum for families to celebrate books and learn a little more about the history of censorship in the United States.

Sunday Story Time: Malala’s Magic Pencil
11:30 am – 12:30 pm
Barbara K. Lipman Children’s History Library, Lower Level

Malala Yousafzai has spent her whole life using her voice to make change, even when people have tried to silence her—like banning this book! In Malala’s Magic Pencil, with illustrations by Kerascoët, learn about Malala’s life. When she was a little girl growing up in Pakistan, Malala dreamed of having a magic pencil that could draw away any problem. As she grew older, Malala realized that she could make the world a better place using the power of her own voice! After the book, make your own magic pencil and think of ways that you could change the world!

Family Q&A with Special Guest Authors Wade Hudson and Eliot Schrefer
1–2:30 pm
Patricia D. Klingenstein Library Reading Room, 2nd Floor
Join us for a very special Q&A with guest authors Wade Hudson (author, publisher, and president and CEO of Just Us Books Inc.) and Eliot Schrefer (a New York Times-bestselling author) along with members of the NCAC.

Wade Hudson is an author, a publisher, and the president and CEO of Just Us Books Inc., an independent publisher of books for children and young adults. Wade has received a New Jersey Stephen Crane Literary Award, the Ida B. Wells Institutional Leadership Award, and the Madame C. J. Walker Legacy Award.

Eliot Schrefer is a New York Times-bestselling author. He has twice been a finalist for the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature, received the Stonewall Honor for best LGBTQIA+ teen book, and received the Printz Honor for best young adult book from the ALA.

Family Craft: Collage Bookmark
12:30–2:30pm
Patricia D. Klingenstein Library Reading Room, 2nd Floor
Get crafty and use your imagination at our supplies table to make your own unique bookmark to take home. It’ll be a useful accessory for all your Banned Book Week reading!

Family Guide: BANNED
All Day
Explore the New-York Historical Society with this paper-based family guide to learn more about the history of censorship in the United States, from the time of the founding fathers up to the present day. Pick up a copy throughout the Museum, including downstairs in the Children’s Museum.

On Censorship with James LaRue

Celebrate Banned Books Week and listen to James LaRue as he presents his book On Censorship, which uses humor, reason, and intelligence to build a case against censorship. LaRue recounts stories from his experience as a librarian confronting book banning, while also casting a wider net to encompass larger issues of censorship. Librarians and educators get into this event for free in recognition of the effort it takes to be on the front lines of book banning and censorship in this current moment. There will be Q&A and book signing following the presentation, and light refreshments will be provided.

In America, censorship surges in periods of demographic and political change. Its primary purpose is to silence challenges to an established elite or norm. Today, censorship is part of a larger assault on such American institutions as schools, public libraries, and universities, the better to establish more control over the people–while also pilfering their wallets. In this concise look at censorship, author James LaRue explores the topic through a librarian’s lens. Using humor, reason, and intelligence, he builds a case against censorship as he recounts stories from his experience as a librarian confronting book banning, while also casting a wider net to encompass larger issues of censorship. “On Censorship” is a part of Fulcrum Publishing’s Speaker’s Corner Books series.

James LaRue has been a public library director for many years, as well as a weekly newspaper columnist and cable TV host. From January 2016 to November 2018, he was director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. He has written, spoken, and consulted extensively on intellectual freedom issues, leadership and organizational development, community engagement, and the future of libraries. He lives in Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

NCAC and SCBWI ILF Announce Banned Book Essay Contest

Banned Books Week Coalition member National Coalition Against Censorship is cosponsoring a new essay contest for high school students! NCAC is joining forces with SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund for the contest. Entries are due May 10, 2023.

Students age 14 to 18 are eligible for the contest. Entrants should write a 250 word essay on the topic “How a Banned Book Changed My Life.” Essays can be submitted online using this form or by emailing them to Gianmarco@ncac.org. Deadline for entry is May 10, 2023. 

A panel of judges will select two winners, who will receive $250 credit for Kindle or Apple Books and will have the opportunity to read their essays aloud via Zoom at the 2023 SCBWI Impact and Legacy Fund Childrens’ Book Changemakers conference at 7:00 p.m. ET on June 8, 2023. Additionally, the two winners will have the opportunity to interview (and be interviewed by) acclaimed banned author Ellen Hopkins (Crank) as a part of the conference program.

For more information, visit https://ncac.org/project/student-advocates-for-speech-2

TODAY: Take Action During Right to Read Day!

In conjunction with the release of today’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books list, ALA has called for a national day of action to protect libraries and the freedom to read — Right to Read Day! Right to Read Day also marks the first anniversary of the ALA-founded Unite Against Book Bans campaign, a public-facing advocacy initiative to empower readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship.

“Right to Read Day is a national day of action—not just acknowledgement,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada. “ALA calls on readers everywhere to show our commitment to the First Amendment by doing something concrete to preserve it.

“The fight against censorship is too big for one person or library or organization to take on alone. And we don’t have to. That’s why ALA created Unite Against Book Bans: to be a collective voice in defending the right to read.”

Since the movement was launched in April 2022, Unite Against Book Bans has created and curated a set of free advocacy resources and provided direct support to community organizers. Local advocates have used and adapted these resources to fight censorship in communities like Llano County and League City, Texas, and in states like Missouri and Louisiana. ALA and its Unite Against Book Bans partners—individuals, authors, publishers, educators, advocacy groups and library organizations of all stripes—are calling on readers to take action on Right to Read Day and beyond.

Suggested Right to Read Day actions include:

  • Borrow a library book at risk of being banned.
  • Write a letter to the editor or to an elected leader.
  • Attend a meeting of local officials or library or school board.
  • Stage a public event or peaceful protest in support of libraries.
  • Report censorship.
  • Join Unite Against Book Bans.

Right to Read Day resources, including social media assets, are available at https://uniteagainstbookbans.org/right-to-read-day/

“Readers who think, ‘this will never happen in our community,’ need to think again. More than half the states have legislation proposed or passed that would take library books off the shelves, punish library workers who dare to make books accessible and silence the voices of LGBTQ, BIPOC and other authors. Speaking up and raising our voices now can stop censorship where it’s happening and prevent censorship where it’s just getting started.”

In addition to the call to action, Unite Against Book Bans partners will host Protecting Free Expression and the Right to Read, a virtual conversation with partners from ALA, PEN America and National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) prompted by “Forever Judy Blume,” the new documentary about renowned author and right to read advocate Judy Blume. ALA President Pelayo-Lozada, PEN America CEO Suzanne Nossel and NCAC Executive Director Christopher Finan will sit down with the documentary’s co-directors to discuss Judy Blume’s trailblazing work and the unprecedented surge of censorship sweeping across the country. Registration is required for the free virtual event, which will take place today at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.

About National Library Week  

National Library Week is an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians, and library workers play in transforming lives and strengthening our communities. Established in 1957, the first National Library Week was based on the idea that once people were motivated to read, they would support and use libraries. The 2023 celebration marks the 65th anniversary of the first event.

ALA Releases Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022 List

Today, the American Library Association (ALA) kicked off National Library Week with the release of its highly anticipated list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2022 and the State of America’s Libraries Report, which tells the story of how libraries are innovating and adapting to improve the well-being of their communities in the midst of censorship challenges. This year, however, there were multiple books that received the same number of challenges – resulting in the expansion of the list to 13 titles.

Libraries in every state faced another year of unprecedented attempts to ban books. In 2022, ALA tracked the highest number of censorship reports since the association began compiling data about library censorship more than 20 years ago. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 2,571 unique titles targeted for censorship, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted in 2021. Most of the targeted books were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community and people of color.

“By releasing the list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books each year, ALA recognizes all of the brave authors whose work challenges readers with stories that disrupt the status quo and offer fresh perspectives on tough issues,” said ALA President Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada. “The list also illustrates how frequently stories by or about LGBTQ+ persons, people of color, and lived experiences are being targeted by censors. Closing our eyes to the reality portrayed in these stories will not make life’s challenges disappear. Books give us courage and help us understand each other.

It’s time to take action on behalf of authors, library staff, and the communities they serve. ALA calls on readers everywhere to show your commitment to the freedom to read by doing something to protect it.”

Below are the most Top 13 Most Challenged Books of 2022:

  1. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: depiction of sexual abuse, claimed to be sexually explicit, EDI content
  1. Flamer by Mike Curato
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) Looking for Alaska by John Green
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content
  1. (TIE) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, LGBTQIA+ content, depiction of sexual abuse, drugs, profanity
  1. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
  1. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit
  1. (TIE) Crank by Ellen Hopkins
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, drugs
  1. (TIE) Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
    Reasons: Claimed to be sexually explicit, profanity
  1. (TIE) This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson
    Reasons: LGBTQIA+ content, sex education, claimed to be sexually explicit

Top 10 artwork is available for download at: https://bit.ly/ALA-Top10

In response to the uptick in book challenges and other efforts to suppress access to information, ALA has designated every Monday of National Library Week moving forward as Right to Read Day, a day of action that encourages communities to fight back against censorship and to protect and celebrate the right to read freely. This year’s National Library Week also marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Unite Against Book Bans, a nationwide initiative that empowers readers everywhere to stand together in the fight against censorship. More information is available at uniteagainstbookbans.org.

About the American Library Association
The American Library Association (ALA) is the foremost national organization providing resources to inspire library and information professionals to transform their communities through essential programs and services. For more than 140 years, the ALA has been the trusted voice for academic, public, school, government and special libraries, advocating for the profession and the library’s role in enhancing learning and ensuring access to information for all. For more information, visit www.ala.org.

There’s More to the Story: Celebrate National Library Week (April 23-29, 2023)

National Library Week (April 23 – 29, 2023) is a time to celebrate our nation’s libraries, library workers’ contributions and promote library use and support. The theme for National Library Week 2023 is “There’s More to the Story,” illustrating the fact that in addition to the books in library collections, available in a variety of formats, libraries offer so much more. Many libraries now lend items like museum passes, games, musical instruments, and tools. Library programming brings communities together for entertainment, education, and connection through book clubs, storytimes, movie nights, crafting classes, and lectures. And library infrastructure advances communities, providing internet and technology access, literacy skills, and support for businesses, job seekers, and entrepreneurs.

The American Library Association (ALA) kicks off National Library Week with the release of its State of America’s Libraries Report, including the list of Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2022

National Library Week Events

Monday, April 24: Right to Read Day, a day for readers, advocates, and library lovers to take action to protect, defend, and celebrate the right to read. State of America’s Libraries Report released.
Tuesday, April 25: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators, and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
Wednesday, April 26: National Library Outreach Day (formerly National Bookmobile Day), a day to celebrate library outreach and the dedicated library professionals who are meeting their patrons where they are.
Thursday, April 27: Take Action for Libraries Day, a day to rally advocates to support libraries.

Find more information, downloadable assets, and much more here.

Strong Finish for Banned Books Week with Friday and Saturday Events

Banned Books Week is drawing to close, but there are still plenty of ways to engage! Don’t miss events bestselling authors Jennifer Niven (All the Bright Places, Breathless), George M. Johnson (All Boys Aren’t Blue), Kyle Lukoff (When Aidan Became a Brother, Too Bright to See), and more! Keep reading…

For a complete event listing, please visit our events calendar here.

Friday Featured Events

A Conversation with Author Jennifer Niven

Virtual Event • 12:00 p.m. CDT
Organized by ALA OIF

Join New York Times-bestselling author Jennifer Niven for a conversation about censorship and the implications for teens and the communities where book bans happen. Niven is the award-winning author of eleven books, including YA novels All the Bright Places, Holding up the Universe, Breathless, and Take Me With You When You Go (with David Levithan). … Read More

Banned Books Bingo

Virtual Event • 3:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by American Booksellers Association

On September 12, at 3 p.m. ET, you are invited to join host Drag Queen Nebuer Styles for Banned Books Bingo. The Banned Books Bingo game card is available in ABA’s Banned Books Week digital assets. This virtual bingo game will not only be a lot of fun but it will also provide a blueprint … Read More

Author Talk: George M. Johnson All Boys Aren’t Blue

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC • 7:00 p.m EDT
Organized by DC Public Library

In recognition of Banned Books Week, DC Public Library welcomes George M. Johnson, award-winning author of “All Boys Aren’t Blue” and “We Are Not Broken.” The DC Public Library is thrilled to host author and activist George M. Johnson, honorary chair of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week initiative. Johnson’s memoir “All Boys Aren’t Blue” has become … Read More

Saturday Featured Events

Let’s Get Organized: Fighting Book Bans Together

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library 901 G St NW, Washington, DC • 1:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by PEN America

For Banned Books Week, National Book Award–honored author Kyle Lukoff (Too Bright to See, 2021 Young People’s Literature Finalist), DC Public Library Teen Services Coordinator Joanna Harris, and Managing Director of PEN America Washington and Free Expression Programs Nadine Farid Johnson sit down to discuss the value of writing, publishing, and access to diverse books, and how we can come together and unite … Read More

The Battle for the Right to Read What You Want

Brooklyn Public Library 10 Grand Army Plz, Brooklyn, NY • 4:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by Brooklyn Public Library

Last month Summer Boismier, a high school English teacher in Norman, Oklahoma, lost her job when she provided students with the QR Code to Brooklyn Public Library’s “Books Unbanned” initiative, which gives out-of-state teens access to the Library’s eBook collection, including books that might be banned where they live. Boismier’s story went viral and became … Read More

Celebrating Black Gay Literature Amidst a Wave of Book Bans

Source Booksellers 4240 Cass Avenue, Unit 105, Detroit, MI • 6:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by PEN Ameerica

Join PEN America Detroit for a Banned Book Week in-person discussion on the anti-Blackness and homophobia inherent in the slate of book bans around the country. This conversation will offer strategies on how to push back against the recent book bans, while also offering a space to celebrate black gay literature in all of its permutations. Moderated … Read More

It’s Your Right to Read!

Banned Books Week offers an opportunity for readers to voice censorship concerns, celebrate free expression and show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom. The Banned Books Week Coalition partnered with HarperCollins Childrens BooksLittle Free Library, and Bookshop.org on resources to help people know their rightsreport censorship, and get involved. Check them out the resources here.

Download a full PDF of the new resource here.

Full Steam Ahead for Thursday Banned Books Week Programming!

Banned Books Week may be drawing to a close in a couple days, but we’re not slowing down! Thursday is packed with amazing programming, from our Facebook Live with censored comics creators Maia Kobabe and Mike Curato to a slew of virtual and in-person events that focus on strategies for fighting censorship. Keep reading!

For a complete event listing, please visit our events calendar here.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

The Censorship of LGBTQ+ Comic Books with Maia Kobabe and Mike Curato

Virtual Event • 5:00 p.m. EDT

Comic books have been targeted by censors for decades, from 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings about their alleged link to juvenile delinquency, to the implementation of a content code that nearly destroyed the industry, to today’s widespread attacks on comics, especially those that share the stories of LGBTQ+ individuals. Join the creators of two of today’s … Read More

Featured Events

Practical Strategies for Defending Books in Your Library

Virtual Event • 12:00 p.m. CDT
Organized by ALA OIF

How would you handle an attempt to censor books in your library? In this program, we’ll use ripped-from-the-headlines scenarios as discussion prompts to provide practical strategies and resources that librarians can use to inform their defense of challenged materials. The conversation will be lead by librarians from a variety of backgrounds: Moni Barrette (President, Graphic … Read More

Books on the Chopping Block

DePaul University Library 2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL • 2:00 p.m. CDT
Organized by City Lit Theater

FREE readings around Chicago and Chicago suburbs.  Various venues.  See website for full list of events. 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 … Read More

Free Banned Books Week Event With Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Rep. Cori Bush

Busboys and Poets (Anacostia) 2004 Martin Luther King Junior Avenue Southeast, Washington DC • 6:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by The Emancipator

The Emancipator and Busboys and Poets invite you to an in-person conversation with Dr. Ibram X. Kendi and Rep. Cori Bush to commemorate Banned Books Week. Come out for a lively discussion on the implications of book bans, as well as the growing embrace of censorship of all kinds in political rhetoric on Capitol Hill, … Read More

Free Speech & Banned Books: A Conversation with Azar Nafisi

Utah Museum of Fine Arts 410 Campus Center Drive, Salt Lake City, UT • 4:00 p.m. MDT
Organized by PEN America

PEN America Utah, the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah, and author Azar Nafisi are partnering for an in-person conversation at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts on Thursday, September 22 that will explore the role Humanities and Liberal Arts play in the preservation of democracy. This unscripted discussion will draw upon Nafisi’s own … Read More

This Story Matters: An Intellectual Freedom Discussion with NCTE Affiliates

Virtual Event • 7:00 P.M. EDT
Organized by NCTE

As the school year begins, teachers and students are facing challenges to their intellectual freedom like never before. From state legislation to executive orders to school district policies to administrator actions, book bans are at an all-time high, and teacher shortages are affecting every corner of the nation. But as an ELA educator, you do … Read More

FREEDOM TO READ: Fighting Book Banning and Censorship in Our Libraries with Deborah Caldwell-Stone and Bridget Quinn

Virtual Event • 8:00 p.m. EDT

In observance of Banned Book Week, MTH&M and Hartford Public Library present a virtual conversation between Deborah Caldwell-Stone, executive director of the Freedom to Read Foundation, and the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, and Hartford Public Library CEO Bridget Quinn. Presented in partnership with the Unite Against Book Bans campaign.  Upon its publication in 1885, Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was immediately banned … Read More

Intellectual Freedom & You: A Banned Books Week Webinar

Virtual Event • 7:00 p.m. CDT

Book bans are on the rise across the country as states seemingly compete to see who can place the most restrictions on free speech. As this latest wave of censorship activity continues to build, what is your role as a library user? In this interactive webinar during Banned Books Week, you’ll learn about why intellectual freedom … Read More

From Howl to Now: Book Bans in the US

Virtual Event • 6:00 p.m. PDT
Organized by PEN America

City Lights in conjunction with PEN America present FROM HOWL TO NOW: BOOK BANS IN THE U.S. Moderated by Ipek Burnett with appearances by Marcus Ewert, Justin Hall, Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes and Dashka Slater During Banned Books Week, PEN America and Bay Area authors come together to discuss the alarming rise in book bans … Read More

It’s Your Right to Read!

Banned Books Week offers an opportunity for readers to voice censorship concerns, celebrate free expression and show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom. The Banned Books Week Coalition partnered with HarperCollins Childrens BooksLittle Free Library, and Bookshop.org on resources to help people know their rightsreport censorship, and get involved. Check them out the resources here.

Download a full PDF of the new resource here.

Literary Stars Align for Wednesday Banned Books Week Programs!

We’re halfway through Banned Books Week, and the stars are bright in today’s events! The Banned Books Week Coalition is honored to host Angie Thomas and Jerry Craft for a Facebook livestream; Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson moderates an event on LGBTQ+ censorship; Banned Books Week Youth Honorary Chair Cameron Samuels joins other community organizers to talk about their experiences fighting book bans; Booklist hosts a conversation with Nikole Hannah-Jones, Renée Watson, Kim Johnson, and Kyle Lukoff; and Ali Velshi will moderate a panel with author Laurie Halse Anderson and others. And there’s so much more going on!

For a complete event listing, please visit our events calendar here.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

A Conversation About Banned Books with Angie Thomas and Jerry Craft

Virtual Event • 6:00 p.m. EDT

Join New York Times bestselling authors Angie Thomas (The Hate U GiveOn the Come UpConcrete Rose) and Jerry Craft (New KidClass Act) for a conversation about the censorship of books dealing with racial identity and racism. The authors will discuss the censorship of their work and the implications for readers, authors, and the community. They will be joined by Jeremy C. Young, Senior … Read More

Featured Events

Breaking Bans: A Celebration of Challenged Books

Virtual Event • 2:00 p.m EDT
Organized by Booklist

Join Penguin Random House and Booklist for a special Banned Books Week event to hear from authors Nikole Hannah-Jones (The 1619 Project), Renée Watson (The 1619 Project: Born on the Water), Kim Johnson (This is My America), and Kyle Lukoff (Different Kinds of Fruit and Too Bright to See), who have all experienced first-hand having … Read More

Books on the Chopping Block! Banned Books Week Performance

John T Richardson Library 2350 North Kenmore Avenue, Chicago, IL • 1:00 p.m. CDT
Organized by City Lit Theater

The DePaul University Library welcomes City Lit Theater for Books on the Chopping Block! a performance of selections from the most frequently banned and challenged books of 2021. Q&A with the performers to follow. This is a hybrid event, open to the DePaul University community and our neighbors. Join us via Zoom or in person … Read More

How to Fight Book Bans in Your Community

Virtual Event • 1:30 p.m. CDT
Organized by ALA OIF

New day, new censorship! Attempts to remove books from school and public libraries are on the rise, leaving many librarians and members of the communities they support with a sense of powerlessness. But you are not alone! Learn about ways you can support libraries and combat censorship from experienced activists who have been defending the … Read More

Restricted Access: The American History of Book Banning

New York Public Library: Celeste Bartos Forum 476 Fifth Ave, New York, NY • 6:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by PEN America

Censorship and book bans are nothing new in American life. In the 19th century, it was the federal Comstock laws barring the delivery and distribution of “every obscene, lewd, or lascivious” book. Today, books that highlight race, gender, or sexuality are being yanked from public shelves around the country. Join PEN America and the New … Read More

Resisting Censorship in Austin – A Community Reading of Banned Books

Spider House Ballroom 2908 Fruth St, Austin, TX • 6:00 pm CDT
Organized by PEN America

Join PEN Austin as we celebrate the right to read during Banned Book Week 2022 with a community reading of banned books. There has been a deluge of book bans in Texas. PEN America’s Index of School Book Bans has listed 1,586 instances of individual books being banned within a nine-month period, 712 from the state of Texas alone; … Read More

Claiming Our Stories: LGBTQ Book Bans in America

Virtual Event • 7:30 p.m. EDT
Organized by GLAAD and The Emancipator

Amidst the growing threat of LGBTQ book bans nationwide, The Emancipator and GLAAD are teaming up to present a virtual Banned Books Week event at 7:30 p.m. ET, Wednesday, Sept. 21, featuring some of the nation’s best known LGBTQ authors and illustrators. The dialogue will be moderated by Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson, … Read More

Banned Books and Body Autonomy in Birmingham

Burdock Book Collective 4413 5th Avenue South, Birmingham, AL • 6:30 p.m. CDT
Organized by PEN America

Join PEN Birmingham for an intimate conversation centering the issue of restrictive book bans targeting women, queer, trans and intersex people in an era of increasing threats to body autonomy. In Alabama, sex education is not currently mandated, and schools that do teach sex education must emphasize abstinence. Books that offer perspectives of LGBTQ+ people are routinely … Read More

Virtual Event: Defending LGBTQ Literature in Oklahoma

Virtual Event • 7:00 pm CDT
Organized by PEN America

Join PEN Tulsa for a virtual conversation addressing the homophobia and transphobia embedded in the recent wave of book bans in Oklahoma and across the country. Moderated by Tulsa-based writer and publisher Ryan Fitzgibbon, the conversation will feature celebrated author and illustrator Mike Curato and PEN Across America Director Program William Johnson. This conversation will offer strategies on how to push back against … Read More

It’s Your Right to Read!

Banned Books Week offers an opportunity for readers to voice censorship concerns, celebrate free expression and show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom. The Banned Books Week Coalition partnered with HarperCollins Childrens BooksLittle Free Library, and Bookshop.org on resources to help people know their rightsreport censorship, and get involved. Check them out the resources here.

Download a full PDF of the new resource here.

George M. Johnson Headlines Action Packed Tuesday for Banned Books Week!

It’s two for Tuesday — we don’t just have one event with New York Times bestselling author and Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson, but two! But that’s not all that’s happening today! Keep reading to find out more…

For a complete event listing, please visit our events calendar here.

Banned Books Week Coalition Events

Spotlight on George M. Johnson

Virtual Event • 1:00 p.m. EDT

Join Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson for an intimate conversation about censorship and how it impacts readers, especially young adults. Johnson will discuss the censorship of their critically acclaimed bestselling novel All Boys Aren’t Blue, which was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, … Read More

Featured Events

Banned Books Week: This Story Matters

Housing Works Bookstore 126 Crosby Street, New York, NY • 5:30 p.m. EDT
Organized by NCTE

Censorship continues a record-breaking sweep across our nation in the form of book bans, removal of literacy materials from school libraries, and the limitation on educators’ speech in the classroom. Teachers, parents, and citizens often feel hopeless when seeking ways to combat censorship, but there are some novel approaches recently taken by libraries, associations, and … Read More

Banned Book Week Social Hour in Durham, North Carolina

Queeny’s 321 East Chapel Hill Street, #Suite 100, Durham, NC • 6:30 p.m. EDT
Organized by PEN America

For Banned Book Week 2022, PEN Piedmont North Carolina, in partnership with the North Carolina Writers Network, will be hosting a free speech “social cocktail hour” with drinks and appetizers. This event will provide an opportunity for free speech advocates, librarians, authors, and the general public to share their thoughts and possible advocacy tools regarding the recent … Read More

The Book Ban Wave: Educational Censorship in SoCal

Virtual Event • 9:00 p.m. EDT
Organized by PEN America

The U.S. has seen a dramatic rise in school book bans and educational censorship, in the guise of prohibitions on teachers, libraries, and curricula. Nationwide, students, teachers, and parents are facing a wave of these measures, which disproportionately target books about people of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, or books engaging themes of sexuality and gender. Books … Read More

It’s Your Right to Read!

Banned Books Week offers an opportunity for readers to voice censorship concerns, celebrate free expression and show their communities the importance of intellectual freedom. The Banned Books Week Coalition partnered with HarperCollins Childrens Books, Little Free Library, and Bookshop.org on resources to help people know their rights, report censorship, and get involved. Check them out the resources here.

Download a full PDF of the new resource here.

Don’t Miss These Banned Books Week Coalition Facebook Live Events!

Banned Books is almost here! Banned Books Week officially kicks off on Sunday, and we’re excited to have an amazing lineup of Facebook livestreams to mark the week! Check them out!

All events are free — simply join the Banned Books Week Facebook page at the appointed hour! These are a great opportunity to engage your students or patrons in Banned Books Week programming, and each event will feature a short Q&A.

Youth Honorary Chair Cameron Samuels Leads a Conversation on Youth Activism

Monday, September 19, 6:00 p.m. EDT

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 Honorary Chair Cameron Samuels (they/them) will lead a conversation with youth activists from around the United States. These inspiring young leaders will talk about their experiences and share their ideas for how others can get involved! More info…

Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson’s Moment in the Spotlight

Tuesday, September 20, 1:00 p.m. EDT

Join Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson for an intimate conversation about censorship and how it impacts readers, especially young adults. Johnson will discuss the censorship of their critically acclaimed bestselling novel All Boys Aren’t Blue, which was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, and the ongoing attacks on books and information related to LGBTQ+ identity. This one-on-one conversation will be led by Freedom to Read Foundation President and librarian Peter Coyl and include a short Q&A. More info…

Angie Thomas and Jerry Craft Get Real About Censorship

Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m. EDT

Join New York Times bestselling authors Angie Thomas (The Hate U GiveOn the Come UpConcrete Rose) and Jerry Craft (New KidClass Act) for a conversation about the censorship of books dealing with racial identity and racism. The authors will discuss the censorship of their work and the implications for readers, authors, and the community. They will be joined by Jeremy C. Young, Senior Manager of Free Expression and Education at PEN America, who will offer perspective on how legislation is impacting and even fueling censorship. The program will be moderated by Amber Payne Co-Editor in Chief for The Emancipator, a digital commentary platform born from a collaboration between The Boston Globe and Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research.

Event made possible with the support of HarperCollins Publishers. More info…

Maia Kobabe and Mike Curato Explain Why LGBTQ+ Comics Belong in Schools and Libraries

Thursday, September 22, 5:00 p.m. EDT

Comic books have been targeted by censors for decades, from 1954 Senate subcommittee hearings about their alleged link to juvenile delinquency, to the implementation of a content code that nearly destroyed the industry, to today’s widespread attacks on comics, especially those that share the stories of LGBTQ+ individuals. Join the creators of two of today’s most acclaimed and frequently censored graphic novels — Maia Kobabe (Gender Queer) and Mike Curato (Flamer) — for a conversation about the attempts to censor their work and LGBTQ+ stories. Greg Rokisky, Senior Manager of Digital Strategy at PFLAG National, and Jordan Smith, Digital Editor at Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, will lead the conversation. More info…

Can’t make it live? We have you covered! All events will be recorded and released on the Banned Books Week YouTube channel after Banned Books Week.

The individual members of the Banned Books Week Coalition are also hosting events throughout the week! We’ll have a rundown for you before it kicks off, and you can find them in the Banned Books Week events calendar here. (Hint: Look for the Featured events!)


Banned Books Week is the annual celebration of the freedom to read. The event is sponsored 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, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE), Freedom to Read Foundation, GLAAD, Index on Censorship, 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.

George M. Johnson to Lead the #BannedBooksChat This Wednesday!

Join Banned Books Week Honorary Chair George M. Johnson this Wednesday, August 24, at 7:00 p.m. EDT for a #BannedBooksChat on Twitter!

George M. Johnson (they/them) is an award-winning Black nonbinary activist and author of The New York Times–bestselling young adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and We Are Not Broken (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021). All Boys Aren’t Blue was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library, and it has been optioned for television by Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. Johnson has written for several major outlets, including Teen Vogue, VICE, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, and TheGrio. 

During the #BannedBooksChat, Johnson and participants will share their thoughts on the following questions:

WARM-UP: Please introduce yourself. Tell us your name and location, and tell us about – or show us! – your favorite #BannedBook! #BannedBooksWeek #BannedBooksChat

Q1: For years now, books by or about LGBTQ+ people have been among the most frequently challenged. In what ways are these materials valuable, and what are the effects of their loss? #BannedBooksChat

Q2: Censorship of LGBTQ+ books and content is on the rise in schools and libraries. Why should people who aren’t part of these two communities care about this censorship? #BannedBooksChat

Q3: What do we say to young people who might be denied access to books? How can we reassure and empower them? #BannedBooksWeek #BannedBooksChat

Q4: What advice do you have for people who are defending LGBTQ+ stories and programming in libraries and schools? What are some resources to which they can turn? #BannedBooksWeek #BannedBooksChat

Q5: The theme of #BannedBooksWeek is “Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us.” What are some examples of books that bring us together? #BooksUniteUs #BannedBooksChat

Q6: How do you plan to participate in #BannedBooksWeek and defend the freedom to read in your community? #BannedBooksChat

Don’t miss this chance to converse with Johnson and other intellectual freedom advocates — or to share your own tips for defending books from censorship — during the #BannedBooksChat on August 24 at 7:00 p.m. EDT!

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. 

Example:

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.

George M. Johnson Named Honorary Chair of Banned Books Week

George M. Johnson

The Banned Books Week Coalition is proud to announce that George M. Johnson has been named Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2022. The critically acclaimed—and frequently banned—author will lead the weeklong event, which brings awareness to the harms of censorship September 18–24, 2022.

George M. Johnson (they/them) is an award-winning Black nonbinary activist and author of The New York Times–bestselling young adult memoir All Boys Aren’t Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2020) and We Are Not Broken (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2021). All Boys Aren’t Blue was named a best book of the year by the New York Public Library and the Chicago Public Library, and it has been optioned for television by Gabrielle Union’s I’ll Have Another Productions. Johnson has written for several major outlets, including Teen Vogue, VICE, Entertainment Tonight, NBC, The Root, Buzzfeed, Essence, and TheGrio. 

All Boys Aren’t Blue was the third title on the American Library Association’s Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021, an annual list released during National Library Week. Like most of the books on the list, All Boys Aren’t Blue was challenged for LGBTQ+ content, which is disproportionately targeted for censorship alongside works dealing with racism and racial identity. Several state legislatures have passed or are considering laws that would limit instruction related to LGBTQ+ identity and race. Johnson and many other authors addressing these issues are impacted, and students are harmed by the resulting censorship.

“Being the honorary chair for Banned Books Week is important to me because I know what it is like to grow up and not have stories about my own lived experience, nor the truth outside of an ahistorical context,” says Johnson. “This is a fight for the truth that has always existed even if it rarely gets told. When the youth are empowered with stories about the experiences of others, they become adults who understand the necessity for equity and equality and have the tools to build a world the likes of which we have never seen.”

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has drawn attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. Banned Books Week 2022 has the theme “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” All readers deserve to see themselves reflected in the books available to them, and people better understand themselves and each other when given the opportunity to choose what they want to read without restriction. This is particularly true for young people, who are most impacted by censorship. The theme image of caged birds reminds us that censorship isolates us from information and from each other.

Join Honorary Chair George M. Johnson and the Banned Books Week Coalition in recognizing the ways in which books unite us during Banned Books Week, September 18–24, 2022! 

Visit bannedbooksweek.org for information about Johnson’s events, programming ideas, and promotional materials; check out the latest edition of the Celebrate Banned Books Week Handbook; and follow @BannedBooksWeek on Twitter for the latest Banned Books Week and censorship news.

Learn more about the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2021 at ala.org/bbooks/top and the issues facing America’s libraries at www.ala.org/news/state-americas-libraries-report-2022

ABOUT GEORGE M. JOHNSON

George M. Johnson is a writer and activist based in New York. They have written on race, gender, sex, and culture for Essence, the Advocate, BuzzFeed News, Teen Vogue, and more than 40 other national publications. George has appeared on BuzzFeed’s AM2DM as well as on MSNBC. All Boys Aren’t Blue is their debut and was an Amazon Best Book of the Year, an Indie Bestseller, a People Magazine Best Book of the Year, and optioned for television by Gabrielle Union. The New York Times called it “an exuberant, unapologetic memoir infused with a deep but cleareyed love for its subjects.”

Website: https://iamgmjohnson.com/ 

Twitter: @IamGMJohnson

Instagram: @IamGMJohnson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/george.m.johnson

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 for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Amnesty International USA, Association of University Presses, Authors Guild, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression, Freedom to Read Foundation, Index on Censorship, National Book Foundation, 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 Penguin Random House.

Website: https://bannedbooksweek.org/

Twitter: @BannedBooksWeek

Instagram: @banned_books_week

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: https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek

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 www.geneyang.com

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: https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek

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: https://www.facebook.com/bannedbooksweek

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
Twitter

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, madwomanintheforest.com.

#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
Twitter

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.

Example:

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.

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

https://bannedbooksweek.org/sponsor/ioc/

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.