The success of Young Adult books has a lot of people celebrating, but it has outraged others. The number of challenges to YA books in schools and libraries is growing. Last year, half of the 10 most frequently challenged books were YA: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (1), Persepolis by Marjan Satrapi (2), Saga by Brian Vaughn and Fiona Staples (6), The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (8), and Drama by Raina Telgemeier (10).
The sponsors of Banned Books Week (BBW) announced this week that they would draw attention to the problem by featuring YA books during BBW, which will be held this year from September 27 through October 3. Banned Books Week, the only national celebration of the freedom to read, began highlighting challenges to particular categories of books last year.
“These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends,” Judith Platt, chair of the BBW executive committee, explained in a press release on Tuesday. “This Banned Books Week is a call to action, to remind everyone that young people need to be allowed the freedom to read widely, to read books that are relevant for them, and to be able to make their own reading choices.” Platt is also the director of free expression advocacy for the Association of American Publishers.
The press release coincided with the unveiling of a new BBW logo.
The American Library Association compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books every year based on reports it receives from its members. ALA reported that there were 311 challenges in 2014. The other books on the list are And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (3), The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (4), It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris (5), The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (7), and A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard (9).
Banned Books Week promotes the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness about the ongoing threat of censorship. Last year, tens of thousands of people participated in Banned Books Week online. More than 500 videos were posted in a virtual read-out, and thousands participated in hundreds of events in bookstores, libraries, and schools and universities across the country.
BannedBooksWeek.org provides information for booksellers and others who would like to participate in BBW.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, People For the American Way Foundation, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.