Banned Books Week!

Banned Books Week is an annual internationally celebrated event where libraries share the most challenged and banned books of the previous year and bring awareness to the threats of censorship in our society. The following list has the top 11 banned books for the year of 2018 with each followed by a powerful quote by influential individuals with similar warnings against censorship throughout history. 

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

“Censorship reflects society’s lack of confidence in itself. It is a hallmark of an authoritarian regime.” – Potter Stewart, former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, Republican

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

“As centuries of dictators have known, an illiterate crowd is the easiest to rule; since the craft of reading cannot be untaught once it has been acquired, the second-best recourse is to limit its scope.” – Alberto Manguel, Argentine Canadian anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, editor, and Director of the National Library of Argentina

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

“Any book worth banning is a book worth reading.” – Isaac Asimov, Science Fiction Author

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

“Censorship is to art as lynching is to justice.” – Henry Louis Gates, American literary critic

5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes

“The prime goal of censorship is to promote ignorance, whether it is done via lying and bowdlerized school texts or by attacking individual books.” – Felice Picano, American writer

6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book…” – Dwight D. Eisenhower, 34th President of the United States, Republican

7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations

“The only valid censorship of ideas is the right of people not to listen.” – Tommy Smothers, American comedian

8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner

Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture

“The only thing that is obscene is censorship.” – Craig Bruce, Australian radio personality

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

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home, but, unlike charity, it should end there.” – Clare Boothe Luce, former U.S. Congresswoman and U.S. Ambassador, Republican

10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

“More than a building that houses books and data, the library represents a window to a larger world, the place where we’ve always come to discover big ideas and profound concepts that help move the American story forward and the human story forward. That’s the reason why, since ancient antiquity, whenever those who seek power would want to control the human spirit, they have gone after libraries and books. Whether it’s the ransacking of the great library at Alexandria, controlling information during the Middle Ages, book burnings, or the imprisonment of writers in former communist block countries, the idea has been that if we can control the word, if we can control what people hear and what they read and what they comprehend, then we can control and imprison them, or at least imprison their minds.” – Barrack Obama, 43rd President of the United States, Democrat

11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content

“When you tear out a man’s tongue, you are not proving him a liar, you’re only telling the world that you fear what he might say.” – George R.R. Martin, American author, A Clash of Kings

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