Banned Books Week 2020 What is a Challenged or Banned Book?

Challenged or Banned: What's the difference?

Challenging a book

According to the ALA (American Library Association), a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based on the objections of a person or a group.

Books are usually challenged under the best of intentions—to protect others (usually children) from difficult ideas and/or information. It is an attempt to remove material from a curriculum or library, restricting access for others. Challenges are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

The Office of Intellectual Freedom’s top three reasons cited for challenging materials are: 1) the material considered to be “sexually explicit” 2) the material contained “offensive language” 3) the material was “unsuited to any age group.”

Challenged or Banned: What's the difference?

Banning a book

Banning is the removal of any challenged material

The Island Trees School District v. Pico (1982) Supreme Court case ruled that school officials can’t ban books in libraries simply because of their content.

The History of Banned Book Week

Over 500 challenged books were showcased at the 1982 American Booksellers Association (ABA) BookExpo America trade show in Anaheim, California.

The American Library Association promotes Banned Books Week, along with 14 other contributors and sponsors. Judith Krug led the Banned Books Week efforts as Office of Intellectual Freedom Director until her death in 2009. Her legacy lives on in the Freedom to Read Foundation’s Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund, a grant awarded to nonprofits to host Banned Books Week events.

Today, Banned Books Week coverage by mainstream media reaches an estimated 2.8 billion readers, and more than 90,000 publishing industry and library subscribers

The Ten Most Challenged Books of 2019

1. George by Alex Gino

2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis

6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole




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