We live in a time when book challenges and censorship attempts are breaking records. Under the guise of protecting others, well-loved books are in danger of becoming inaccessible to everyone—not just those who need “protecting.” Libraries are open to all, and everybody should have the freedom to access the information they need which, of course, includes selecting their own reading material. Celebrating Banned Books Week is, therefore, imperative to an equitable future for libraries and their users.
The year isn’t even over, yet already The American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) reports nearly 700 attempts to censor library materials in 2023. Keep in mind, these censorship demands generally call to ban multiple books in a single case, so if we’re looking at individual titles, the numbers far surpass 1,500—a substantial increase from last year.
Despite calls to challenge, ban, remove, and even burn, the books below have remained steadfast favorites for generations of young readers. You’re probably not the only one surprised by some of these.