Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week has helped people recognize and navigate censorship, and the battle for free expression is unending. Reading brings people together, but censorship drives us apart. The theme of this year’s event, “Censorship Is a Dead End,” is a reminder that we need to fight censorship to “Find Our Freedom to Read.” This year’s celebration embraces a maze motif, an attainable and customizable idea that offers publishers, booksellers, librarians, educators, journalists, and others an opportunity to engage with their communities in a variety of ways, from passive programing to big events.
In recognition of National Library Week (April 19 – 25, 2020), the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom released their list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2019. This list highlights the ways in which curtailing reading materials makes the world smaller. In 2019, ALA tracked nearly 377 attempts to censor library, school, and university materials and services, encompassing 566 books that were challenged or banned. The list includes books that can help readers, especially young people, understand and navigate tough situations, such as George by Alex Gino; Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin; Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg and Fiona Smyth; I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas; and Drama by Raina Telgemeier.
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