Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings 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, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.
Click on the links below to learn more about these frequently banned and challenged books at Amazon.
Top 10 Banned Books of 2015
Looking for Alaska by John Green.
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”)
I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings
Reasons: inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”)
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”)
Reasons: religious viewpoint
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: violence and other (“graphic images”)
Habibi by Craig Thompson
Reasons: nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
Reasons: homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”)