By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harm of censorship and demonstrates the value of free and open access to information and ideas.
Nationwide, books of all types have been challenged, which means that an individual or a group has asked that it be removed (banned) from a library’s shelves so that it is not available to readers. The American Library Association keeps statistics about the numbers of books challenged or banned each year, but most cases are not reported. Over the years, challenged books have ranged from children’s picture books to the Bible to fiction and nonfiction for all ages.
Libraries in Macon, Jackson, and Swain Counties have created displays of books that have been challenged or banned in other communities across the country. The goal is for readers in Western North Carolina to celebrate their right to read those books and any other books they choose.
The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2015, according to the American Library Association, are:
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
- I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
- The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
- Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
- Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).
- Jackson County Library (828-586- 2016)
- Albert Carlton-Cashiers Community Library (828-743- 0215)
- Marianna Black Library (828-488- 3030)
- Macon County Public Library (828-524- 3600)
- Hudson Library (828-526- 3031)
- Nantahala Community Library (828-321- 3020)