What would you be missing if you didn’t have the unrestricted freedom to read? Banned Books Week, which falls on September 24-30 this year, aims to bring attention to the problem of censorship. It began in 1982 when there was a sudden increase in the number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Even today, there are many challenges against books. In 2016, there were 323 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, however, many cases also go unreported.
Censorship is a slippery slope. Once someone succeeds in having one book banned, for any reason, other people can argue for the banning of more books until we completely lose our freedom of unrestricted access to information.
Below are the top five most challenged books of 2016, all of which can be borrowed from the Greene County Library. Stop by the library sometime this week and celebrate your freedom to read. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit bannedbooksweek.org.
1. This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki – Rose’s latest summer at a beach lake house is overshadowed by her parents’ constant arguments, her younger friend’s secret sorrows, and the dangerous activities of older teens.
2. Drama by Raina Telgemeier – Designing sets for her middle school’s play, Callie tries to overcome limited carpentry skills, low ticket sales and squabbling crew members only to find her efforts further complicated by the arrival of two cute brothers.
3. George by Alex Gino – Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self.
4. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings – Based on the young co-author’s real-life experiences, the story of a transgender child traces her early awareness that she is a girl in spite of male anatomy and the acceptance she finds through a wise doctor who explains her natural transgender status.
5. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan – A chorus of men who have died of AIDS observes and yearns to help a cross-section of today’s gay teens who navigate new love, long-term relationships, coming out, self-acceptance and more in a society that has changed in many ways.