Every last week in September the American Library Association (ALA) helps sponsor Banned Books Week. This year, banned books week falls on September 27th-October 3rd.
Banned Books Week is a campaign that helps celebrate and promote the freedom to read. You can read a little bit about the history of the event on the ALA’s Banned Books Week website.
Each year, the campaign tries to raise awareness of issues of censorship by highlighting those works that have been the most targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools across the country.
According to information tracked by ALA, the following ten books were the most challenged books of 2019:
1. George by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”
5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content
How many of the previous challenged works have you read? Have you read some of them and are looking for other recommendations similar to the titles you enjoyed? If so one way to celebrate your freedom to read and explore the world of books available to you is to explore the NoveList Plus database.
NoveList Plus connects readers to their next book by making recommendations for what to read next. One of the most popular elements is read-alikes. This feature suggests titles that are 'just like' other titles. If you've just finished a great book, log into NoveList Plus and find great read-alikes. There are also read-alikes for authors and series. Consider NoveList Plus your one-stop guide to great reading.
Readers will also find:
• Listen-alike recommendations for audiobooks
• Series information
• A single place for reviews
• Lists! (top ten, best of, favorites)
• Award winners, all in one place
For children and young adults, there's NoveList K-8 Plus!
Have kids who love action/adventure? Kids who want to read books just like their favorite, Harry Potter? Students who have to find non-fiction books at their reading level? NoveList K-8 Plus makes it easy to find just right books that match each reader's interests and reading level. Parents, teachers, and librarians can also find tools to teach with books and engage young readers.
Readers don't forget that NoveList Plus and NoveList K-8 plus, can be accessed from our eSources list. If you need help getting started with NoveList Plus, check out our How to Use the Library video on this eSource.