Celebrate your freedom to read! Banned Books Week, which falls on September 23-29 this year, aims to bring attention to the problem of censorship. Each year hundreds of books are challenged in schools, bookstores and libraries for a wide variety of reasons. Last year alone, 416 books were either challenged or banned.
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 five most challenged books of 2017, all of which can be borrowed from the JMRL catalog. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit bannedbooksweek.org.
1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher – When high school student Clay Jenkins receives a box in the mail containing 13 cassette tapes recorded by his classmate Hannah, who committed suicide, he spends a bewildering and heartbreaking night crisscrossing their town, listening to Hannah’s voice recounting the events leading up to her death.
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
3. 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.
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini – Traces the unlikely friendship of a wealthy boy and a servant’s son, in a tale that spans the final days of Afghanistan’s monarchy through the atrocities of the present day.
5. 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.