Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information.
Banned Books Week 2022 will be held this year September 18–24. The theme of this year’s event is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.”
Banned Books Week also includes challenged books. What is the difference between a challenge or a banning? A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. Check out the top ten most challenged books from 2021 below.
The Top 10 Challenged Books of 2021
- Gender Queer by Maria Kobabe
- Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evision
- All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
- The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian by Alexie Sherman
- Me And Earl And The Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
- This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
- Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin
Library staff share some of their favorite books, which have been banned or challenged.
Resources on Banned Books Week (from bannedbooksweek.org & the American Library Association)
The First Amendment in Schools: A Resource Guide
National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) presents a collection of materials on the topic of censorship in schools for the use of students, educators, and parents everywhere.
The Students' Right to Read
Gives model procedures for responding to challenges, including “Citizen’s Request for Reconsideration of a Work.”
BE HEARD! Protecting Your Protest Rights
A joint effort of National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) and the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Be Heard! Protecting Your Rights is a short comic by Kai Texel that delineates the protest rights of students in the United States. View this important tool for student advocacy here.
Banned/Challenged Book FAQ
A list of frequently asked questions on banned and challenged books.