Banned Books Week Posted on September 21st, 2016 by

img_4340Wait, people still ban books? Even in this day and age? Unfortunately yes, which is why we celebrate Banned Books Week every year. We celebrate our freedom to read, we condemn censorship, and in doing so, we remind ourselves that threats to our freedoms still exist.

The America Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles data from libraries, schools and other sources to track which books have been banned in various places and the reasons they were banned. Here are the top 10 banned books from 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”).

This year’s Banned Books Week celebrates diversity – and notes the ways in which diverse voices have been silenced, in part through compiling a list of the most-frequently banned books by diverse authors and/or containing diverse content. For more information on why diversity is so important in publishing, browse our We Need Diverse Books libguide.

Banned Books Week is sponsored by a number of great organizations, including the American Library Association and the Library of Congress Center for the Book. The Gustavus Library is proud to celebrate our freedom to read and to raise awareness of the threats to those freedoms.


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