25 September – 1 October 2016 is Banned Books Week
What is Banned Books Week?
Banned Books Week is the book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read.
Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookshops and libraries.
The ALA (American Library Association) says: ‘A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported. We estimate that for every reported challenge, four or five remain unreported.’
The 10 most challenged titles of 2015 were:
- 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, ‘poorly written’, ‘concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it’
- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and 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, ‘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, ‘profanity and atheism’
- The Holy Bible. Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
- Fun Home by Alison Bechdel. Reasons: Violence, ‘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, ‘condones public displays of affection’
If you want to find out which books were the most challenged over the past 15 years, follow this link: The Top Ten Challenged Books Lists
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