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Intellectual Freedom: Censorship, Banned & Challenged Books

Organizations Fighting Censorship in Libraries

Children and Censorship

Libraries and Censorship

Banned Book Week

Celebrating the Freedom to Read -- September 24- September 30, 2017

Banned Books Week, an annual event celebrating the freedom to read, is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association; American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression; the American Library Association; American Society of Journalists and Authors; Association of American PublishersComic Book Legal Defense Fund; the Freedom to Read FoundationNational Coalition Against Censorship; National Council of Teachers of English; National Association of College Stores; PEN American Center and and Project Censored.  It is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The Intellectual Freedom Committee of the American Library Association leads this effort.

10 Most Challenged Books of 2015

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
  4. 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, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

More information on banned and challenged books is available on the American Library Association website.

10 Most Challenged Books in 2014

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom released the top ten most frequently challenged books list of 2014 as part of the State of America's Library Report.  The list follows.

1) "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. 

2) "Persepolis," by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. 

3) "And Tango Makes Three," Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. 

4) "The Bluest Eye," by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. 

5) "It’s Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. 

6) "Saga," by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. 

7) "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

8) "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. 

9) "A Stolen Life," Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group

10) "Drama," by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit