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Banned Books Week

Thu, 09/30/2021 - 5:49pm -- CKing


When is the last time you read a book that really, truly offended you?

Maybe it wasn’t a book. Maybe it was a movie or a TV show, or something you read or saw online. (Did you read the comments? Why would you read the comments?)


What did you do about it? Did you complain? Who did you complain to?

Your school and your library get feedback from people all the time. Sometimes it’s good! We love hearing what we’re doing well. More often, though, people want to share their distaste: they saw something at the library that they found in contrast to their beliefs.


 The American Library Association (ALA) tracks and reports on the most challenged books of the previous year. Curiously, almost all of these challenged books are written for younger folks. These complaints frequently come from parents on behalf of their kids. Sometimes they’re from teachers; less often, kids themselves.



Here are the ALA’s “Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020.” Can you spot the common themes?


  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”


  1. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people


  1. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”


  1. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity


  1. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author


  1. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views


  1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience


  1. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students


  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse


  1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

 We’ve got a bunch of these books on display here in the Teen Space this week. If you’ve read any of them, stop in and let us know what you think. We love to hear your thoughts – both positive and negative.

By the way, I’m Danielle, the new teen associate. You’re welcome to stop by to say hello to me, too. I just finished reading Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas, right in time for spooky season. Here’s what it’s about:

Cemetery BoysAfter coming out as trans, Yadriel’s traditional family struggles to accept that he is a “real” brujo, capable of wielding magic which can send the dead to their final resting place. Things get even more complicated when he catches feelings for the ghost of his recently deceased bad-boy classmate, whom Yadriel sort of resurrected by accident. We’ve all been there! Read this if you like big, difficult families, cousins as besties, spooky vibes, soft romance, and magic IRL.




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