Banned Books Week 2020

Banned Books Week 2020

Censorship is a dead end - Find your freedom to READ!

“I’m offended”….”How can I explain this to my kid?”….”This isn’t what I believe”….The idea that books that present these challenges should be taken off of the shelves, and the opposing assertion that all knowledge should be available to everyone, is the foundation of librarians’ favorite holiday week: Banned Books Week, Sat., Sept. 27 - Sat., Oct. 3.

When you read a book or watch a movie, ever think to yourself “I’m offended” or ”How can I explain this to my kid?” or ”This isn’t what I believe”? Those thoughts are common and every library has something that offends someone. Banned Books Week is about keeping materials available for all – even if they offend someone.

The American Library Association honors this tradition by taking the time to educate us all on intellectual freedom. Banned Books Week launched in the 1980s after a rise in challenging and banning controversial materials (including Hop on Pop, by Dr. Seuss).), In short, this is your right to read whatever you want, whether someone else agrees with it or not. So this Banned Books Week, go out and explore without limitations! Read the books that you want to read and find the information that you want to know whether it’s offensive, different, scary, magical, or anywhere in between!


The Top 10 National List

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Of the 566 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    • Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure”
  2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
    • Reasons: challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased
  3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
    • Reasons: Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning
  4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth
    • Reasons: Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate”
  5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis
    • Reasons: Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint
  6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    • Reasons: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged”
  7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
    • Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
  8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    • Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”
  9. Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
    • Reasons: Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals
  10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
    • Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content

PPLD Challenge: Banned Books Art
Celebrate your right to read! Create a piece of art celebrating or using pages from a banned book and show off what you’ve made on Facebook. You can even check out our video on PPLDTV, premiering on Sept. 1, for how to make wearables from banned books. Learn more here.

Take and Make: Banned Books Mini-Charms
Get a Take and Make kit from your Library starting Fri., Sept. 4, and get everything you need to create a beautiful miniature book charm featuring banned or challenged books that could be used as a necklace or a keychain (while supplies last).

Teens Make: Banned Books Mini-Charms (video)


Check out challenged titles at PPLD.


Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD) believes in freedom of information for all and does not practice censorship. The selection of Llibrary materials is predicated on the patron's right to read and freedom from censorship by others. Library materials may be controversial and any given item may offend some person. Selections for the Library are made solely on the merits of the material, in relation to the development of a collection that serves the needs and interests of a diverse population.

Community members are always welcome to submit a reconsideration request form for Library materials.

Please see our Challenge Materials Policy for more information.