This is #BannedBooksWeek

Welcome to Banned Books Week, 2019. I’ve made it something of a tradition to participate, and this year is no different! I invite you to join me this year, share your blog posts and check out what others have to say. The link will be open the entire week!

Image of a lit-up lightbulb holding a book, followed by the words: Censorship Leaves Us In The Dark. Keep The LIght On! Banned Books Week, September 22-28, 2019. bannedbooksweek.org

Let’s start off the week with a look at some of the data!

Every year the American Library Association puts together a list of the top 10 banned and challenged books of the previous year. This is put out as part of their Annual State Of The Libraries report.

This year, for the first time, they names 11 books.

Illustrated with the logo of a lit-up lightbulb readings a book, this lists the Top 11 Challenged Books of 2018. The test is: "The American Library Association tracked 347 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2018. Of the 483 books that were challenged or banned in 2018, here are the top 11 most challenged:
1) George by Alex Gino. Banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning "dirty magazines," and including a transgender character.
2)A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller. Banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints.
3) Captain Underpants series. written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey. Series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple. 
4) The Hate U Give. by Angie Thomas. Banned and challenged because it was deemed "anti-cop" and for profanity, drug use, and sexual reference.
5) Drama, written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier. Banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes. 
6) Thirteen Reasons Why. By Jay Asher. Banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide.
7) This One Summer, by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki.  Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations.
8) Skippyjon Jones series. Written and illustrated by Judy Schachner. Challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture.
9) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. by Sherman Alexie. Banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.
10) This Day In June. by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. Challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content.
11) Two Boys Kissing. By David Levithan. Challenged, burned, and hidden for including LGBTQIA+ content.

This year over 50% of the books contained LGBTQIA+ content, and many of the other challenges had to do with characters identity.

A word cloud of Censorship by the Numbers: Reasons for Book Challenges
Listed reasons include (roughly in order from largest text to smallest): LGBTQIA+, Sexually Explicit, Political Viewpoint, Gender Non Conformity, Cultural Insensitivity, nudity, Anti-Cop, White Supremacy, Obscenity, profanity, Religious viewpoint, dirty magazines, occult satanism, drugs, alcohol, smoking, racism, teen suicides, pornographic, glorifies criminals, violence, language, transgender characters, liberal propaganda, same-sex married couple, confuses children, sex education.

The state of libraries report noted that “[a]s libraries work to become centers of tolerance and inclusion – providing information, resources, and programming for those who are underrepresented or marginalized in their communities – the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) has noticed a repressive pushback by those who believe that a more diverse and just society pose a threat to their beliefs and way of life.” This response included instances of book burning.

Censorship by the numbers. Infograph which noted Five Types of Book censorship in 2018: Vandalizing pages, hiding resources, requiring parental permission to access content, removing materials, burning books. Additionally it notes that 200+ Books [were] donated to Orange City (Iowa) Public Library after four LGBTQIA+ library books were burned by a religious activist.

This week Eclectic Alli will be looking at some of the books on this list, as well as some of the other challenges that have occurred over the year, looking at challenging the censorship that occurs in our world. I’ll have a few guest posts, and provide some information about how you can participate!
Here’s a little more information about the books that hare banned, and the response of the authors who discovered that they were on this list.

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