Banned Books Week

By: Ella Porter

What is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week is an event usually held during the last week in September that brings readers everywhere together to celebrate stories deemed too "controversial" and their freedom to read those stories anyway. This event was started in 1982 after the number of books being challenged in schools, bookstores, and libraries experienced a dramatic increase. Some reasons why books are challenged are for including viewpoints on topics such as religion and politics that are considered scandalous or unconventional, focusing on serious topics some feel are unsuitable for children and young adults, and for being too graphic.

Why Have Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week is necessary because it exposes readers to books that will challenge them and make them think about the world in a different and more open way. Shielding people from topics solely because they're controversial or differ from the norm leaves them closed off to new ideas, naive about the way the world is, and unable to grow. This is especially true when it comes to banned young adult books. Your youth is exactly when you should be experiencing and learning about the complex ideas and topics found in banned books, so you can figure out your own viewpoints and become your own person.

Furthermore, young adult books are frequently banned for being too explicit. However, these books don't include profanity or graphic scenes solely for shock value - they include these things to reflect the world in which teenagers live, a world that is sometimes profane and graphic, but always real.

Examples of YA Books That Have Been Banned

3 YA Authors on Censorship

"Text is meaningless without context. What usually happens with Looking for Alaska is that a parent chooses one page of the novel to send to an administrator and then the book gets banned without anyone who objects to it having read more than that one particular page.”

-John Green

"When...people call Eleanor & Park an obscene story, I feel like they’re saying that rising above your situation isn’t possible. That if you grow up in an ugly situation, your story isn’t even fit for good people’s ears. That ugly things cancel out everything beautiful.”

-Rainbow Rowell

Why Not To Ban Books