Banned Books Week (September 26 - October 2, 2021) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Here are some books teens might want to check out, and the reasons they have been cahllenged or banned.
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism and You by Jason Reynolds
A history of racist and antiracist ideas in America, from their roots in Europe until today, adapted from the National Book Award winner Stamped from the Beginning.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
The explosion of racial hate in an Alabama town is viewed by a little girl whose father defends a black man accused of rape.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reason: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity.
A traumatic event near the end of the summer has a devastating effect on Melinda's freshman year in high school.
George by Alex Gino
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But Melissa knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. Melissa thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. Melissa really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, Melissa comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano
After discussing the police shooting of a local Black man with their families, Emma and Josh know how to treat a new student who looks and speaks differently than his classmates.