There's a Book for That: Banned Books Week

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Yes, it’s Banned Books Week. Did you know that The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2017? According to the ALA, the year 2017 saw an increase in censorship attempts and a revitalized effort to remove books from communal shelves to avoid controversy. Of the 416 books challenged or banned in 2017, the following four Penguin Random House titles (here with ALA’s annotation about the challenge) were on the Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged List:


Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay AsherTHIRTEEN REASONS WHY by Jay Asher; Young Adult

Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.


The Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniTHE KITE RUNNER by Khaled Hosseini

This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”



Sex is a Funny Word by Cory SilverbergSEX IS A FUNNY WORD by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth; Ages 7-10

This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”


I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz JenningsI AM JAZZ by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas; Ages 4-8

This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.


Check out this related story:

Penguin Random House Partners with “We Need Diverse Books” in Observance of Banned Books Week

And visit this collection to learn more about these and other challenged/banned books: Banned Books Week 2018

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Posted: September 26, 2018