Tag: george m johnson

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.

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.

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