Banned Books Week is recognized from September 18-24, 2022. We use this time to reflect on how and why books are banned and what both citizens and professionals can do to encourage a world of challenge-free reading.
There has been much in the news lately about the banning of books in our country. Often, these books have themes and characters that are controversial to some individuals. In reality, we live in a world filled with a multitude of people and life experiences. When reading a book, we bring those personal aspects about ourselves to the table as we get to know the characters and situations the author presents to us.
Rather than banning content that one does not agree with, it may be more positive to use those experiences that differ from your own as learning or teaching moments. Reading books is a way to open your heart and mind to others in the world, rather than shutting them down and canceling them out.
Books that have been banned or challenged in many areas of the country are not just random titles no one has ever heard of, but books that have won awards for writing merit, present characters and situations that kids and teens experience every day, or show us a different life far beyond the comforts of our own.
While some folks do read material, many challenges are made by groups that do not actually read what they are banning. Instead, they choose to pick out the parts of the book they find most offensive and use them out of context to try to say the book is bad and should not be read. These groups are also trying to make decisions that not only affect their children, but the reading lives of others in their communities.
No one should have the right to tell someone else what they can and cannot read. Get out there and read everything you can, especially the banned ones!
To learn more about Banned Books Week and how you can advocate for intellectual freedom, visit the American Library Association's Banned & Challenged Books page.
The books listed below have been frequently challenged, censored or banned in public schools and libraries. The reason for their challenge is listed with each title.