Banned Books Week – Book Challenges Explained

When people first hear about Banned Books Week, they often ask one of two questions: “Who doesn’t have the freedom to read?” and “Are books really banned?” Neither answer is quite as straight-forward as you might think.

Less Censorship, More Unicorns

I hate Banned Books Week. There. I said it. Well, not the week itself, obviously. As a lifelong supporter of the freedom to read, though, I hate that Banned Books Week is still necessary in 2016. You’d think we’d be a bit further along by now.

I hated this Banned Book

Habibi by Craig Thompson is an epic, sweeping graphic novel. Set in a mythical, Middle Eastern-inspired country, it tells the interweaving stories of two characters who live much of their lives as slaves. The book contains absolutely fantastic illustrations, allusions to the Quran and the Bible, and themes of love, loss, hope and storytelling; it’s one of the top-ten most frequently challenged books in the United States. And I really didn’t like it.

When Kissing Scares People

When I read Two Boys Kissing three years ago, I knew I was holding a banned book. A reader gets an immediate sense of what acclaimed young adult author David Levithan’s novel is about; however, as with so many great books, Two Boys Kissing is much more than its title and cover.

My time with Holden Caufield

My only school experience with Catcher in the Rye was in junior year of high school in English class. One half of the class read it and my half read 1984 by George Orwell, another banned book. Somehow along the years, I ended up with a copy of Catcher in the Rye, so I thought, why not read it? I wanted to see what all of the fuss was about. I had a few people tell me what a great book it was.