Get ready for Banned Books Week, running September 26 through October 2, and this is the time where we, as readers, can come together to celebrate our simple freedom to read what we want.
Sponsored by a coalition of organizations dedicated to free expression, this annual celebration was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. It was designed to highlight the value of free and open access to information, and your Abilene Public Library certainly supports your freedom to access the materials you want.
A great quote by Jo Godwin states “A truly great library contains something in it to offend everyone.” Simply put, just because there may be something offensive to you, that doesn’t mean that it might be the exact thing another person needs. Libraries, and library staff, are neutral parties that aren’t here to restrict your access to what you want, but to do what we can to connect you to the materials you need.
The American Library Association always takes this time to look back at the past year, and list the top 10 most challenged books of the year. Compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, this agency is in charge of compiling those lists as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. If we own it in our collection, follow the link to reserve it and check it out...but whatever you do, visit your library and celebrate the freedom to read whatever you’d like. Especially during Banned Books Week.
- "George" by Alex Gino | Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting "the values of our community."
- "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds | Banned and challenged because of the author's public statements and because of claims that the book contains "selective storytelling incidents" and does not encompass racism against all people.
- "All American Boys" by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely | Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be "too much of a sensitive matter right now."
- "Speak" by Laurie Halse Anderson | Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
- "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie | Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
- "Something Happened in Our Town: A Child's Story About Racial Injustice" by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins and Ann Hazzard | Challenged for "divisive language" and because it was thought to promote antipolice views.
- "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee | Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a "white savior" character, and its perception of the Black experience.
- "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck | Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
- "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison | Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
- "The Hate U Give" by Angie Thomas | Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an antipolice message.