Research Guides

Banned Books Week 2020



Banned Books Week is September 27 – October 3, 2020.

Do you read comics?  How about romances? Historical fiction? Nonfiction?  Chances are, you’ve read a book that’s been banned!  Writers of every race, religion, and gender identity have had their books, comics, short stories and more banned because their ideas were deemed too dangerous for the public.  Books are being banned from libraries in the United States and abroad every year.  According to the 2020 State of America's LibrarieS Report, 377 books were challenged in 2019 in libraries across the country for a variety of reasons, most notably for affirming transgender youth.  Find out more about which of your favorite books or comics were banned or challenged in the last year.  Get involved!
Use the search box below to find banned books in our catalog!  Select ‘Subject’ from the drop down menu and search for ‘banned books’.  Our list keeps growing every day, so check back often!
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2020 Banned Books Week @UML!
While we are not hosting an in-person event this year, please watch our website for Banned Books information!  Stay safe, and read dangerously!
Virtual Read-Out
Join the Virtual Read-out!  Take a look at the Virtual Read-out YouTube channel, featuring celebrities reading from their favorite banned book.  Want to join in?  Take a video of yourself reading aloud from a banned book and submit it online!
 
2019 Most Challenged Books
Further info
Banned and Challenged Books
A website of the American Library Association Office of Intellectual Freedom

 
General Resources

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The affect of censorship outside of the libraries
Karolides, Bald, Sova, Bald, Margaret, Sova, Dawn B. 120 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature. Second ed. New York: Checkmark, 2011.
 
Robbins, Louise S. The Dismissal of Miss Ruth Brown: Civil Rights, Censorship, and the American Library. Norman: U of Oklahoma, 2000. 
 
Fronc, Jennifer. Monitoring the Movies: The Fight over Film Censorship in Early Twentieth-century Urban America. First ed. Austin: U of Texas, 2017
Banned Books in the UML collections
Books challenged, banned, or restricted due to LGBTQIA+ content and characters:
And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin 
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
George by Alex Gino
I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan 
 
Books challenged, banned, restricted, (and in one case, burned) for addressing racial justice issues:
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references 
Charleston County, South Carolina – The local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police wanted this book removed from a high school summer reading list because it encourages “distrust of police.”  
Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capo Crucet 
A book burning last year in Georgia at a college: Students burn author’s book outside of Eagle Village. The author of the book is a Cuban-American author originally from Hialeah. The Q&A session after the author’s on-campus lecture became heated when students objected to her assertion that white privilege is real. A number of students later destroyed or burned their copies of her book. 
To Kill a Mockingbird, written by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
 
 
Books challenged, banned, or restricted for sexual content: 
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
 
Books banned for religious reasons: 
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals.  
 
Books banned for addressing controversial subject matter:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.
The Kite Runner, written by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.” 
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide.

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