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Syracuse University Libraries

Banned Books Week: Home

What is Banned Books Week?

Banned Books Week 2020: September 27-October 3

Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read during Banned Books Week!

Every year, hundreds of books are challenged to be banned from libraries and schools throughout the world. These challenges aim to restrict or even completely remove access to certain books.

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types—in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The American Library Association (ALA)'s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. (American Library Association, 2011).

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019

Below are the most frequently challenged books from 2019:

Have you read them?

  1. George by Alex Gino
  2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
  3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
  4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
  5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
  6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
  9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
  10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole

(Source: American Library Association, 2020)

Puppet Book Banners

See what happens when these puppets misinterpret the meaning of Banned Books Week!

Video of the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019

Censorship is a dead end. It limits exploration and creates barriers to access information. Of the 566 books that were challenged or banned in 2019, these are the Top 10 Most Challenged. The annual list is compiled by the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Words Have Power

Banned Book Week logo

(Source: American Library Association, 2017)