Banned Books Week 2018, the annual celebration of the freedom to read, will be held September 23 - 29. The 2018 theme, “Banning Books Silences Stories,” is a reminder that everyone needs to speak out against the tide of censorship.
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2017. The list includes the critically acclaimed and timely YA novel The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, the bestselling middle grades graphic novel Drama by Raina Telgemeier, the groundbreaking children’s book And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell, Justin Richardson, and Henry Cole, and much more. These stories and others have been silenced, and Banned Books Week is a call to action to speak up for the right to read.
Charles Brownstein, chair of the Banned Books Week Coalition (BBWC) committee, says, “Banned Books Week gives everyone a chance to celebrate their story. The courageous students, teachers, librarians, and authors who stand up for challenged ideas remind us that intellectual freedom is our birthright. By creating an event for your community, posting online about the freedom to read, or even just reading a banned book, each person has an opportunity to further that right.”
Explore the following pages for listings of banned/challenged books:
- 30 Years of Liberating Literature timeline
- Banned/Challenged Classics
- Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books lists
- 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books by Decade
- Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century
The top ten most challenged books of 2017 include:
Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.