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Banned Books Week 2015: Banned & Challenged Books 101

A guide to links and Banned Books Week resources on the web and home to the world famous UST Banned Book Trivia contest!

Why Celebrate Banned Books Week?


The American Library Association defines Banned Books Week as "the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular.....BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them."

Over 30 Years of Celebration

In honor of the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, ALA created a timeline of notable books banned/challenged since the inception of Banned Books Week. Click on the picture below to see it:

Who Challenges Books?

Books are often challenged or banned due to material that an individual or an organization deems to be offensive, vulgar, racist, or goes against social norms. 

According to the Office of Intellectual Freedom the top three reasons given for challenging materials: 

1.the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
2.the material contained "offensive language"
3.the materials was "unsuited to any age group"

What's the difference between banning or challenging a book?

According to the American Libraries Association website

"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.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others."

Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2014

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom

 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,
 by Sherman Alexie
 Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity,
 drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, 
 sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence.


Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language,
political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically,
racially, and socially offensive.”



            The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
            Reasons: Sexually explicit,
            unsuited for age group




             It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
           Reasons: Nudity, sex education,
           sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.



 Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity,
offensive language, and unsuited
for age group.


The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language,
unsuited to age group,


   The Perks of being a Wallflower        
   by Stephen Chbosky
   Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking,
   sexually explicit, homosexuality,
   unsuited to age group.


 A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
 Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking,
offensive language, sexually explicit


 Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
 Reasons: sexually explicit                   


Ways to Get Involved!

Get involved this week by browsing the displays at the UST Libraries and checking out the information on this guide.

Play the BBW Daily Trivia Contest
Do you know the answer?!

Voice your Opinion in the UST BBW Discussion!

Vote for your favorite Banned Books (let's get a list of UST favorites going!)

Participate in the 2015 Virtual Read Out!

Learn more about why books have been banned since 1990

Help us edit Wikipedia in a Wiki Edit-a-Thon

Lists of Banned Books

Find lists of books that have been most frequently challenged or banned here: 

Top 10 by Year

Free Speech

"We are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasent facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies, and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people."      -John Kennedy