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Banned Books Week
Transcript of Banned Books Week
What is it?
Reasons for Challenging Books
How did it get started?
Banned Books Week is an annual event held by the American Library Association.
The week celebrates your freedom to read and serves to inform people about the harms of censorship.
The ALA first started celebrating Banned Books Week in 1982.
It came after the Supreme Court ruled that school boards had limited authority to remove books on school library shelves.
In a 5-4 vote, justices determined that a school board could not remove books simply because it didn't like the ideas presented. The court ruled that doing so violated students' First Amendment rights.
Can Books Still be Banned?
Yes, though it's a much
more difficult process.
Once a book is challenged at a school library, the board must meet to determine whether the book in question should be banned.
Thanks to concerned parents, students, librarians and other community members, most challenges are unsuccessful.
First, a book must be challenged.
The ALA defines a challenge as a formal, written complaint requesting a book be removed from library shelves or school curriculum based on content or appropriateness.
A challenge is not an expression of opinion on a particular book. Instead, it’s an attempt to restrict or remove the materials from free access.
Challenges by year as reported to the
Office for Intellectual Freedom
2013 - 307
2012 - 464
2011 - 326
2010 - 348
an attempt to remove or restrict completely.
is a complete removal
of these materials.
Top Ten Challenged Books 2013
Two Boys Kissing
by David Levithan
Homosexuality and other
(“condones public displays of affection”).
, by Craig Thompson
graphic novel. Habibi tells the tale of Dodola and Zam, refugee child slaves bound to each other by chance, by circumstance, and by the love that grows between them.
: Nudity, sexually explicit,
and unsuited for age group.
#7 Fun Home
, by Alison Bechdel
A graphic memoir about growing up with a remote dad who managed a funeral home while hiding his homosexuality.
Violence and other
#6 The Holy Bible
#5 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
, by Mark Haddon
religious viewpoint, unsuited
for age group, and other
(“profanity and atheism”).
#4 Beyond Magenta: Transgender
Teens Speak Out
, by Susan Kuklin
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”).
I Am Jazz
by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
: Inaccurate, homosexuality,
sex education, religious viewpoint,
and unsuited for age group.
#2 Fifty Shades of Grey
, by E. L. James
Sexually explicit, unsuited
to age group, and other
(“poorly written,” “concerns
that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
And the #1 Challenged Book in
#1 Looking for Alaska
, by John Green
sexually explicit, and unsuited
for age group.
Banned and Challenged Comic Books
Nasreen’s Secret School
A True Story from Afghanistan
Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.