This week we're celebrating the freedom to read! From September 27 to October 3, 2020, the American Library Association is hosting its annual Banned Books Week in libraries and bookstores across the nation. At The Bookery we love exploring banned and challenged books and we've made a list of our favorites.
If any of the titles below catch your attention, visit our bookshop!
1. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
What it is about: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Why it was banned: The book was banned and challenged because it was deemed "anti-cop," and for profanity, drug use, and sexual references.
2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
What it is about: The critically acclaimed debut novel from Stephen Chbosky follows observant “wallflower” Charlie as he charts a course through the strange world between adolescence and adulthood. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it, Charlie must learn to navigate the wild and poignant roller-coaster days known as growing up.
Why it was banned: This book often shows up on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books due to its open discussion of topics such as sex, drugs, homosexuality, and suicide.
3. George by Alex Gino
What it is about: When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George 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". George 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."
Why it was banned: The book was challenged due to the belief that it would encourage children to change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning "dirty magazines," describing male anatomy, "creating confusion," and including a transgender character. Also challenged for teaching kids how to clear their browser histories, as when George did so to hide her research on transgender identities.
4. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
What it is about: Offred is a Handmaid in the Republic of Gilead. She may leave the home of the Commander and his wife once a day to walk to food markets whose signs are now pictures instead of words because women are no longer allowed to read. She must lie on her back once a month and pray that the Commander makes her pregnant because, in an age of declining births, Offred and the other Handmaids are valued only if their ovaries are viable. Offred can remember the years before when she lived and made love with her husband, Luke; when she played with and protected her daughter; when she had a job, money of her own, and access to knowledge. But all of that is gone now
Why it was banned: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”
5. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
What it is about: Based loosely on Lee’s own childhood experiences, the novel takes place in the Deep South during the Great Depression. It is a coming-of-age story for the protagonist Scout Finch, an intelligent and tomboy who is six years old at the start of the novel. The two themes most central to the novel are racial inequality and the loss of innocence.
Why it was banned: it is one of the most frequently challenged books in the US due to its themes of rape and use of profanity and racial slurs.
Want to read more challenged books? Go to our bookshop and shop for them! By using our affiliate link you'll be helping local bookstores!