2016 Banned Books Week: Spotlight on Diversity

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Banned Books Week has rolled around again! Celebrating the freedom to read, Banned Books Week runs from September 25 through October 1. This year the theme is celebrating diversity.

From BannedBooksWeek.org:

It is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. This year’s Banned Books Week will celebrate literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.

Looking at the books that have been banned or challenged over the last few years, it is easy to see a connection to the politics of our times. While diversity is rarely given as a reason for a ban, there seems to be a definite trend towards the presence of diversity in a book as an underlying factor in why it is challenged. As stated above, the majority of banned books are disproportionately from diverse authors. Furthermore, challenged books are often about gender diversity, people with disabilities,  ethnic and/or religious minorities, LGBTQ, or people of color.

It always saddens me to see books we have in our home, books that we love as a family, appear on the Banned Books list. Here are a few of books from our home library that have made the list. The sad state of affairs is, if I include all the books we that have been banned in the past, this list would be really, really long.

Banned Books  I am Proud to Own

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

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Reasons: sexually explicit (there is a quick peck between two male characters during a musical performance)

Top Ten Challenged Book: 2014

 

the curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon

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Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).

Top Ten Challenged Book: 2015

 

George by Alex Gino

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Reasons: Gender identity “confusion”.

 

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

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Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence

Top Ten Challenged Book: 2008, 2012, and 2014

Will you be reading any banned or challenged books this week? Which banned books do you own?

You can take a look at the Top Ten banned books in years past at the ALA’s website here.