“Banned Books Week” Display of Challenged/Censored Books on Display in Hackney Library

According to the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week (September 22-28, 2019) “is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It 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.”

Along with many other libraries and others this week, Hackney Library will be celebrating “Banned Books Week” with a display of titles in our collection that at one time or another have been challenged or censored because of content.  You may be surprised at many of the titles in our collection that have been challenged.

“The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. 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,” according to ALA.  The theme of this year’s “Banned Books Week” commemoration is “Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark:  Keep the Light On.”

According to the ALA’s Bannedbooksweek.org site, the list of most banned books in 2018 (the year most recently documented) contains not just the usual 10 titles, but this year, an additional 11th title, “some of which were even burned by censors!” (Hackney Library does not happen to own any of 2018’s most frequently banned books, but we do have many others in our collection.)

Here is the 2018 list and a summary of reasons for banning taken from Bannedbooksweek.org:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints
  3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references
  5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
    Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations
  8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
    Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
    Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

According to the Bannedbooksweek.org site, the 10 most commonly cited reasons for challenges/censorship of books are LGBTQ content, sexual explicitness, profanity, racism, violence, religious viewpoint, sex education, suicide, drug and alcohol use, and nudity.

Do your part in helping to “Keep the Light On” by perusing our display, and then checking out and reading a banned or challenged book.



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1 Response to “Banned Books Week” Display of Challenged/Censored Books on Display in Hackney Library

  1. kathyproctor says:

    Reblogged this on Teach and Beach and commented:
    Maybe my students will enjoy their FREEDOM to read The Handmaid’s Tale this week instead of complaining about it. 🙂

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