The First Amendment had quite a weekend as President Donald Trump picked a fight with players and teams in the NFL and the NBA over athletes who use the national anthem as a time for peaceful protest.
Thee president has since seen a backlash from players and team owners alike, but such debate over the freedom of speech and protest is quite an opener for the 2017 Banned Books Week, a national event sponsored by nearly a dozen organizations including the American Library Association, the Association of American Publishers, and the Freedom to Read Foundation.
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Since launching in 1982, approximately 11,300 books have been challenged to be banned at schools, bookstores, and libraries nationwide, according to the American Library Association. Looking at the most recent list of the top 10 out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom in 2016, many of these titles fall in the young adult and children’s book genres. (That might not be surprising for avid YA readers as even five of Judy Blume’s beloved works fall on the ALA’s list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books: 1990–1999.)
Following in Blume’s esteemed footsteps are popular YA writers such as Rainbow Rowell and John Green, both of whom saw their work land on the 2016 list for “offensive language” and “a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to ‘sexual experimentation,'” respectively.
- This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
- Drama by Raina Telgemeier
- George by Alex Gino
- I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
- Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
- Looking for Alaska by John Green
- Big Hard Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction
- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread by Chuck Palahniuk
- Little Bill (series) by Bill Cosby
- Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Banned Books Week, themed “Our Right to Read,” runs from September 24 to 30.