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Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week? Is the library banning books now? The answer to that is an emphatic no! But, to the surprise of many, books are still banned (removal of materials or cancellation of services from libraries, schools, or stores based on content) and more commonly challenged (an attempt to remove or restrict materials or services from libraries, schools, or stores based on content) with regularity even here in the U.S.

Banned Books Week (Sep. 27-Oct. 3, 2020) is an annual recognition of these challenges when libraries across the country celebrate the wonderful, diverse books that we believe every patron should have equal access to without censure. Why do books get banned and challenged? Common reasons are the inclusion of sex, profanity, LGBTQ+ characters and content, racist content, drugs and drinking, witchcraft, and political propaganda. To celebrate your freedom to read, this week is the perfect time to pick up a book that someone at some point wanted to prevent you from getting your hands on! 

Check out the top ten recent challenges below and click here to see the top 100 books with the most challengs in the last decade

But first, can you identify which banned and challenged books the following quotes are from? Answers are at the end of the blog post. 

  1. "So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."
  2. "You're bound to get idears if you go thinkin' about stuff."
  3. "But it's the truth even if it didn't happen."
  4. "Destroying things is much easier than making them."
  5. "Obscenity only comes in when the mind despises and fears the body, and the body hates and resists the mind."
  6. "Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse, for some."
  7. "What's the point in having a voice if you're gonna be silent in those moments when you shouldn't be?"
  8. "The worst part of holding the memories is not the pain. It's the loneliness of it. Memories need to be shared."
  9. "No one knows for certain how much impact they have on the lives of other people."
  10. "We realize that we are as ourselves unlimited and our experiences valid. It is for the rest of the world to recognize this, if they choose."


*This list is based solely on challenges that received media attention or were voluntarily reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom. 82-97% of challenges are never reported, so we have no idea how that data would change these titles. Titles this year skew towards those for youth, but that is not always the case. 

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2019 (last full year from which data is available): 

George by Alex Gino

Beyond Magenta: transgender teens speak out by Susan Kuklin

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss

Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg

Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack






I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson



  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  3. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  5. Lady Chatterly's Lover by D.H. Lawrence
  6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  7. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  9. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  10. The Color Purple by Alice Walker