Banned Books Week 2018: The Titles, Data, Self-Censorship—and Crafts

A look at the titles, data, a round up of recent related content, and more, as the literary world focuses the spotlight on censorship.

Librarians and educators will highlight the most challenged titles and topics in literature—and hopefully kickstart important conversations—during Banned Books Week. Here's a look at the 2017 Top 10, plus a breakdown of who, what, and why from the American Library Association:

Graphic: ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom

These are calculated from the challenges reported. The pyramid below shows us that most don't get reported at all.


What else does ALA know?

(All information in graphics originally printed in the State of Americas Library Report 2018).

Now that you have the facts, check out some of SLJ's recent related content.

Those seeking to restrict content never take a break, but the last couple of years, they have been particularly active. During Pride Month, librarians always face an increased number of challenges. Over the summer, one South Carolina district had the local police union objecting to its high school reading list.

Self-censorship becomes a big issue for librarians. Pat Scales reminds a librarian worried about Angie Thomas' The Hate U Give that keeping a book off the shelves to avoid controversy is not part of the job description, and Oregon librarian Miranda Doyle asked her colleagues to stand up against a challenge last spring—and whenever they arise.

Get in on the conversation as school librarians Janet Damon and Julia Torres talk about The Hate U Giveand you won't want to miss K.C. Boyd and Matthew Winner discuss street lit and LGBTQ+ picture books, respectively. Maybe your students will want to put together booktalk videos on challenged titles like these students from Glenthorne High School in London.

The censorship goes beyond books. At schools, decisions are made as to which websites and apps to restrict with content filters

Finally, if you need some last minute ideas for displays, activities, or crafts, check out the Library Hacks column dedicated to the topic.

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Kara Yorio

Kara Yorio (, @karayorio) is news editor at School Library Journal.

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