Banned Book Week

Posted on September 24, 2021

by Riese Bornell

Banned Books Week will take place September 26th through October 2nd this year. The Banned Books Week Coalition’s theme for 2021 is “Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us.” This week, recognized throughout the United States, was created in 1982 in response to the growing number of book challenges. More than 273 books were challenged in 2020 in an attempt to ban or restrict access to them. The following ten books were the most challenged in the year of 2020. They are followed by reasons for their bans.¹


George written by Alex Gino 

LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Author’s public statements, claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents”, and does not encompass racism against all people.

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson 

Thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard

“Divisive language” and was thought to promote anti-police views.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Profanity, thought to promote an anti-police message.


¹Gomez, B. (2021, April 5). ALA Unveils Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020. Banned Books Week. 


Riese Bornell

Riese Bornell

Riese is a Public Services Librarian. Her undergraduate degree from Indiana University South Bend is in Vocal Performance, and she loves all kinds of music from Alternative music to Showtunes. (Just not Country. Please, no Country). You can almost always find her watching anime or horror movies, reading, or talking about some kind of history topic. She is a proud cat and plant parent. If you want to use ‘they’ to refer to Riese, that’s cool too. They’ll respond to both.
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