Skip to Main Content
UWSP Libraries
Ask A Librarian:
Chat:
Email:
Text:

Banned Books Week 2022: About Banned Books

Banned Books Week (September 18-24, 2022) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools.

Banned Books Week. Books unite us. Censorship divides us.

About Banned Books Week

The 2022 Theme for Banned Books Week is “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” It is a telling theme as the American Library Association (ALA) reported that there were 681 documented attempts to ban or restrict library resources in schools, universities, and public libraries this year, one of the highest documented reports of challenges in over 20 years.

Banned Books Week began in the 1980's following the landmark 1982 case Island Trees School District vs Pico, which ruled that school officials can't ban books in libraries simply because of their content. The American Booksellers Association (ABA) created a display at their annual convention of challenged books in a padlocked cage, and after the success of the display began the event known as Banned Books Week in partnership with the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom and the National Association of College Stores.

  • A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
  • A banning is the removal of those materials.

 

Each year the American Library Association lists the Top 10 most challenged books, along with records of frequently challenged books and resources for fighting censorship.

 

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2021

#1 most challenged book of 2021. Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. For LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe

Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#2 most challenged book of 2021. Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. For LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#3 most challenged book of 2021. All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson. For LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, considered sexually explicit.

All Boys Aren't Blue by George M. Johnson. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, profanity, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#4 most challenged book of 2021. Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. For depictions of abuse, considered sexually explicit.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. Challenged for depictions of abuse, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#5 most challenged book of 2021. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. For profanity, violence, considered anti-police,

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Challenged for profanity, violence, considered anti police, "indoctrination of a social agenda".

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#6 most challenged book of 2021. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. For profanity, sexual references, use of derogatory terms.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Challenged for profanity, sexual references, use of derogatory terms.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#7 most challenged book of 2021. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews. Considered sexually explicit and degrading to women.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#8 most challenged book of 2021. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. For depiction of child sexual abuse, considered sexually explicit.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Challenged for depiction of child sexual abuse, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#9 most challenged book of 2021. This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson. For LGBTQIA+ content, providing sexual education.

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, providing sexual education.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

#10 most challenged book of 2021. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, written and photographed by Susan Kuklin. For LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, written and photographed by Susan Kuklin. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, considered sexually explicit.

Images via https://ala.org/bbooks

UWSP Library Staff Recommendations

A woman with white hair and dark glasses, wearing a red hoodie, reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
UWSP Student Katie Pritzl, a young white woman with brown hair and glasses and wearing a brown sweater, sitting next to a stack of Harry Potter books.
Sally Tiffany, a young woman with brown hair and glasses, reading Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Avianna Holmes, a young white woman with pink eyeshadow and long wavy brown hair, smiling and holding up a copy of the book Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell.
Sameul Barrett, a young white man with brown hair, holds up a copy of the book Night by Elie Wiesel. He is wearing a face mask and raising his eyebrows with his eyes open wide.
A young woman with white skin and blonde hair in a ponytail holds up a copy of the book To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. She is wearing a gray face mask, dark-rimmed glasses, and a green hoodie.