Banned Books Week is here! Banned Books Week happens each September, and is a celebration of the freedom to read and express ideas. Every year hundreds of books are challenged as being "unfit" for readers. This usually happens in schools and libraries, and the "readers" are usually children and teens. In response, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) puts together a list of those challenges and joins with the larger book community--librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, students, and readers--to fight censorship and promote intellectual freedom.
Books are challenged for many different reasons, by all kinds of people with all kinds of beliefs. Though most people who challenge books would say they are trying to protect readers from inappropriate content, many of the books are classics or widely beloved. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, and the Bible are books that have been challenged many times. It is also true that many of the books challenged today are books by or about people of color, LGBTQIA++ people, and people with disabilities.
The Oakland Public Library supports and values the sharing of ideas and experiences by diverse groups of people. OPL also aims to empower all people to explore, connect, and grow, as each person sees fit for themselves. Learning about the experiences of others increases understanding and creates connection. In that spirit, here are a few books that have been challenged or banned that you can check out or put on hold today.