How Banned Books Week being celebrated across the country

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Between September 27th and October 3rd this year, libraries, schools and bookstores will be turning our focus to books that have been challenged or banned at some point in the past.

Some of the organizations that are taking place in this year’s event are of course the National Coalition Against Censorship and the American Library Association.

During the Banned Books Week, we’ll be enjoying the young adult books. The most challenged from this category last year is definitely “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie, followed by “The Perks of Being Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky and “Drama” by RainaTelgemier.

The American Library Association made its own top-10 list of last year’s most challenged Young Adult books. Apart from the three mentioned above,the list also contains “The Giver” by Lois Lowry and “Looking for Alaska” by John Green.

“Young adult books are challenged more frequently than any other type of book," Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week national committee, said of the decision to look specifically at YA titles. "These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices.”

An interesting fact is that during this year’s event, Rick Provine, the Dean of Libraries of DePuaw University, vowed to be living inside the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Libraryfor the entire week, in order to drawthe attentionto these banned books. The whole event set to  take place in Indiana.

The year 2014 was basically an exception to the rule, since the number of the books reported for the challenge is significantly lower then it was during the last decade.  According to the ALA, some book challenges were not shared;however, as much as 311 challenges happened in 2014. Looking back to 2013 when 307 books were reported, this is still not a significant number of reports.

In fact, both of these numbers are considered the lowest in recent years when it comes to reported challenges. For example, the highest number of reports during the last decade was back in 2004 –when there were as many as 547 reports in total.

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