The S.W. Smith Memorial Public Library in Port Allegany is celebrating the freedom to read by highlighting books that have been reported to the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom as challenged or banned in certain schools, universities, libraries and communities.
The display of books at the library includes books that have been historically banned and books that are currently being challenged by censorship attempts. The 2019 theme for Banned Books Week, Sept. 22-28, is “Keep the Light on: Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark” and the library is keeping a lighted vigil on the banned books in the display.
Patrons are welcome to support their freedom to read by checking out the books on the display. In 2018, the Office of Intellectual Freedom tracked 347 challenges to library, school and university materials. The Top 11 Most Challenged Books for 2018 are:
- “George” by Alex Gino: Reasons: banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character.
- “A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo” by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller. Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content, and for political and religious viewpoints.
- “Captain Underpants” series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: series was challenged because it was perceived as encouraging disruptive behavior, while Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple.
- “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas. Reasons: banned and challenged because it was deemed “anti-cop,” and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references.
- “Drama” written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier. Reasons: banned and challenged for including LGBTQIA+ characters and themes.
- “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher. Reasons: banned, challenged, and restricted for addressing teen suicide.
- “This One Summer” by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki. Reasons: banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and certain illustrations.
- “Skippyjon Jones” series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner. Reason: challenged for depicting stereotypes of Mexican culture.
- “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: banned and challenged for sexual references, profanity, violence, gambling, and underage drinking, and for its religious viewpoint.
- “This Day in June” by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content.
- “Two Boys Kissing” by David Levithan. Reason: challenged and burned for including LGBTQIA+ content.