Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is an annual celebration to bring awareness to books and other materials that are banned or challenged in libraries across the country. Banned Books Week is celebrated this year from September 26-October 2nd, but you can celebrate all month long at EPL! This week’s banned books theme is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”

The American Library Association tracked 156 challenges across books, materials, and services in 2020. Overall, 273 books were targeted. Here are the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020 as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom from the American Library Association:

  1. George by Alex Gino: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.” Available on the catalog | Hoopla | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people. Available on the catalog | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.” Available on the catalog | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity. Available on the catalog (graphic novel version) | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook | Overdrive Graphic Novel.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author. Available on the catalog | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views. Available as a Hoopla audiobook. Place a hold on the catalog.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience. Available on the catalog | Hoopla | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students. Available on the catalog | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse. Available as Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message. Available on the catalog | Hoopla eBook | Hoopla audiobook | Overdrive eBook | Overdrive audiobook.

Celebrate your freedom to read and stop by the library to check out our banned books display!

Further Reading

For more information about Banned Books Week, visit the ala.org/bbooks.

Leave a Comment