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Celebrating the Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

Celebrating the Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week

Sept. 26-Oct. 2 is Banned Books Week, and the library is celebrating our commitment to your freedom to read.

Started in 1982 in response to a surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries, Banned Books Week brings together librarians, teachers, publishers, journalists, and readers who are to the ideals of the freedom of expression, without fear or favor.

One of the guiding principles of the Cedar Rapids Public Library is intellectual freedom. We are committed to the free and open exchange of ideas, and we facilitate access to information, free of judgement.

That means we do not restrict access to books based on their content. As author Judy Blume said, “Having the freedom to read and the freedom to choose is one of the best gifts my parents ever gave me.”

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. All of the challenged books are available to borrow from the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

The Top 10 Challenged Books of 2020 are:

  1. George by Alex Gino. Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote antipolice views.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an antipolice message.

Learn more about Banned Books Week.

One Comment

  1. Thank you for standing up for books and freedom to read!!

    Cheryl Plotz
    Sep 25, 2021 Reply

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