Banned Books Week 2021

As you may or not know, yesterday was the start of Banned Books Week! We always celebrate here at The Magical Buffet. The American Library Association, along with assorted schools, stores, authors, and more, come together for one week to bring attention to continued attempts to limit what people can read.

This year’s theme is, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” Sharing stories important to us means sharing a part of ourselves. Books reach across boundaries and build connections between readers. Censorship, on the other hand, creates barriers. – from the ALA website.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. And just like in year’s past, I’m here today to make you aware of the top 10 challenged books of 2020. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

George by Alex Gino

Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds

Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author

Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin

Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

If you want to support these authors, independent bookstores, and myself, consider visiting my online bookshop where for your convenience you can shop all these titles. (You’ll also find the beginnings of other book lists. I add to the shop as time allows.)

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Who Legally Owns Your Tweets

By Aron Solomon

I started thinking about this lost in a Twitter black hole about the future Trump Presidential Library. As the meme goes, people like to poke fun at him because while other presidents eventually have an important library of materials to memorialize their presidency, the outgoing 45th President of the United States has tweets.

A lot of them.

President Trump has tweeted over 30,000 times since becoming a candidate to become president in 2015. His account currently has just under 87 million followers. As you can imagine, this has taken a significant amount of time over his one term as president.

If you appreciate how social media works, a Twitter account with 87 million followers is a valuable digital asset. The value comes from two sources: the tweets themselves and the followers.

For any social medium – Twitter in this example – having close to 100 million people follow an account is absolutely massive. This means that close to 100 million people are regularly visiting your platform, in part, to view this person’s tweets.

So, if they’re coming to see what President Trump is saying on Twitter, the tweets themselves are a form of digital currency.

But who owns President Trump’s tweets, and, for that matter, who owns yours?

Like anything else you write, you can actually copyright your tweets.

A tweet is protected by copyright if:

1. The content is original to its author, meaning the expression cannot be copied from someone else, and it must possess at least a minimal amount of creativity. So if President Trump sends a tweet that lists the names of the 6 ideologically conservative justices who now sit on the Supreme Court, that doesn’t clear the creativity bar. Yes, if President Trump were to analyze from his perspective which of those judges are the best and worst justices and why, these opinions would clear the bar to allow this to be a copyrighted tweet.

2. The tweet contains something more than simply a name, single word, or short phrase, since these are not protected by copyright law. While some have complained that the 140 (now 280) character limit on a tweet dramatically limits how much original thought can be communicated in a tweet, it is now commonplace to string tweets together in a series, often known as a tweetstorm.

But the fundamental question remains as to whether you would own the copyright to your tweet or Twitter would.

Twitter’s Terms of Service state that as a user you:

…retain your rights to any Content you submit, post or display on or through the Services.

What’s yours is yours — you own your Content (and your photos and videos are part of the Content)….

While you own the copyright, you are granting Twitter an irrevocable license to use your content, by making “it available to the rest of the world and to let others do the same.” This is the entire nature of how the service works: You tweet, someone likes and retweets your tweet, someone else sees it on their feed and retweets it as well. This is, when you think about it, not only Twitter granting an ability to other users to use your content, it’s essentially allowing them to share a kind of a transactional and temporary copyright.

Part of the notion behind copyright is that you are copyrighting something of value. Many skeptics still believe that Twitter is little more than an art project, a useless digital pool in which to wade away the hours.

Yet imagine if Mr. Trump left Twitter and went to a competitor, such as Parler. Parler, while founded in 2018, has only very recently begun to significantly grow. Parler differentiates itself from Twitter as being an online locus for free speech, read: right-wing people who want a pretty much unedited place to communicate often false and potentially dangerous theories and worldviews. Parler has been in the news a lot these past week, most recently for having received investment from the Mercer family to position the company for what they expect to be exponential growth.

Without regard to how one might feel about Parler, which has recently been publicly touted on live TV as the new Twitter by personalities such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham, one feature that Parler has and Twitter doesn’t is the ability to give a financial “tip” to the person creating these micro-messages.

Let’s imagine that President Trump decided to leave Twitter for Parler and his followers migrated along with him Next imagine if he can motivate them to donate/”tip” on average only $1 per year per follower. With a natural rate of growth as the platform scales, that could quickly equate to a revenue stream for Mr. Trump of $100 million per year, not even counting how Parler could add value in many circles to the brand that is the Trump name.

Expect more and more dialogue around this issue in the coming months, especially as some pundits believe that Mr. Trump’s next endeavor might be founding a media company. Imagine the immediate value of his tweets, followers, and brand goodwill to this new company and whether any potential legal dispute could arise over who owns the intellectual property he has created to date on social media.

About Aron Solomon
Aron Solomon is the Senior Digital Strategist for NextLevel.com and an Adjunct Professor at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University.

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Banned Books Week 2020

As we all know, 2020 has been a dumpster fire. We are essentially a nation on the brink. I was expecting some sort of aggressive, war footing for this year’s annual Banned Books Week. Freedom of thought and expression is vital in times like these. However, we’re getting a relatively bland, kind of dorky theme. That said, don’t let it dissuade you from observing and participating in, this important annual event!

Banned Books Week is an event celebrating the freedom to read. Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week 2020 is from September 27 – October 3. The theme of this year’s event is “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The American Librarian Association Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country. The Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019 are:

(clicking on the book images will take you to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase a book, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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”

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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”

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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”

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones”

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals”

Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org
Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

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

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Support Independent Bookstores - Visit IndieBound.org

And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson illustrated by Henry Cole
Reason: Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content


You can learn more about this event and the work they do here.

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The Satanic Temple’s Reproductive Rights Campaign

Press release from The Satanic Temple

The Satanic Temple (TST) has announced that its religious abortions during the first trimester are exempt from state regulations that hinder access to pregnancy termination services and serve no medical purpose. TST has expressed concerns about the opportunity for its members to perform certain voluntary religious practices, specifically its abortion ritual. Currently, those seeking to terminate a pregnancy around the country may be required to endure unnecessary waiting periods, mandatory counseling, unwanted sonograms, and may be given unscientific reading materials that are designed to elicit shame and sway their decision.

TST argues that these requirements, as well as other legal obligations, are not medically necessary, and insists that Satanists are exempt from these regulations if they undergo first-trimester abortions in accordance with TST’s religious ritual. The satanic abortion ritual involves the recitation of TST’s Third and Fifth Tenets, which celebrate bodily autonomy and the adherence to best scientific practices, along with a personal affirmation that is ceremoniously intertwined with the abortion.

TST bases its assertions of abortion mandate exemptions on the protections provided by State Religious Freedom Restoration Acts (RFRA), which generally prohibits the government from substantially interfering with a person’s free exercise of religion. This law was famously affirmed in the 2014 Hobby Lobby case, Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, 573 U.S. 682 (2014). Hobby Lobby successfully argued that it did not have to cover the costs of certain contraceptives for their female employees despite being mandated to do so under the Affordable Care Act because its owners held a religious belief that the contraceptives were abortifacients.

TST’s reproductive rights spokesperson, Jane Essex, notes, “Many states have laws that interfere with our members’ ability to practice their religious beliefs. No Christian would accept a mandatory waiting period before they can partake in Communion. No Christian would tolerate a law that insists state counseling is necessary before someone can be baptized. Our members are justly entitled to religious liberty in order to practice our rituals as well.”

Essex adds, “The law is clearly on our side. If RFRA states do not want to recognize our rights, they will ultimately have to claim that our abortions are not satanic. Given that many people fanatically insist that all abortions are satanic, the states’ argument will be very unpopular. Not only will those who deny Satanists their religious freedom be denounced by defenders of liberty, but they will also be detested by those who demonize abortion. Hopefully, states will do the right thing and respect our legal rights.”

These kinds of hijinks that highlight hypocrisy are common of The Satanic Temple. They are probably best known for their work in attempting to get their statue of Baphomet displayed in states that erect monuments of Ten Commandments at court houses (in violation of the separation of church and state). This kind of declaration is all well and good, but it is when a member of the Temple tries to invoke it that the rubber meets the road.

About The Satanic Temple:
The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate for practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. For more information on The Satanic Temple, visit https://thesatanictemple.com/.

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Docu-mania!

Have you been spending more time at home? Well, you should be, there IS a pandemic going on after all. I should be using this time to accomplish loads of things, but honestly, I’m not. Sure, some people are learning new skills, or getting shape, but there is nothing wrong with just maintaining. That’s pretty much what I do…. maintain.

An odd, but welcome development is that I have been all about watching documentaries. In a world of limitless new entertainment content, for some reason I have settled on this. I have been watching loads of them, from various streaming services. In case you have been looking for a diversion from your usual entertainment I thought I would highlight the tons of documentaries I have been watching.

Remastered: Devil at the Crossroad (Netflix)
Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to become the greatest bluesmen to ever live. This fantastic documentary dives into the life, death, and legend of Robert Johnson, who was one of the greatest bluesmen to ever live.

Kathy Griffin: A Hell of Story (Amazon Prime)
I have ALWAYS loved Kathy Griffin, and this “docu-comedy” just makes me love her even more. Follow the fallout from the publication of the infamous photograph of her holding Trump’s severed head and into her comeback. All of it culminates with a fantastic stand up special that is not to be missed!

Bill Nye: Science Guy (Netflix)
An intriguing look behind the scenes of Bill Nye’s life. It covers his roots as the “Science Guy” to his strong second act of becoming the public face of science in the climate change debate. What’s nice about this documentary is that it shows Nye as a human being, prone to ego and fear as well as a kind-hearted proponent of science.

Tickled (Hulu)
This documentary begins with the directors attempting to make a film about the world of “competitive endurance tickling”. Believe it or not, it gets jaw droppingly weirder from there. Welcome to the unintentional conspiracy film you never knew you needed.

The Brink (Hulu)
This film follows Steve Bannon from getting booted from Donald Trump’s administration through his attempt to create an international super group of nationalist world leaders, and the United States mid-term elections. It is presented judgement free, but trust me, you will judge him.

Get Me Roger Stone (Netflix)
Some people love to be the villain, and Roger Stone is one of them. This neutrally presented documentary will leave your jaw on the ground…. or else you might not have a soul.

Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski (Netflix)
A genius sculptor, the underground comix scene, Nazis, redemption, the nature of language, and more are to be found in this riveting documentary. Hands down an amazing story. It is hard to encapsulate, you will just need to trust me when I say, watch it.

Have you seen any of these? If you have, or watch some of them, leave me on comment on The Magical Buffet’s social media letting me know what you though!

Do you enjoy The Magical Buffet? Considering supporting The Magical Buffet on Patreon! For only $5 a month you’ll receive monthly tarot/oracle forecasts, classes, and behind the scenes updates! https://www.patreon.com/magicalbuffet

Banned Books Week 2019

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

For those of you who are curious, this short video shows the 11 most challenged books of the past year.




You can learn more about Banned Books Week at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks

Want to support independent bookstores and shop the top 10 most challenged books of the past decade? Then shop the links below! (These are affiliate links to IndieBound, which supports independent bookstores throughout the United States. If you use these links to purchase books, I will make a small commission at no additional cost to you.)

NUMBER ONE
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NUMBER FIVE
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NUMBER SIX
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NUMBER 7
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NUMBER EIGHT
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NUMBER NINE
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NUMBER TEN
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Hail Satan?

I received a press release about a documentary that I definitely want to see! Check it out!

Chronicling the extraordinary rise of one of the most colorful and controversial religious movements in American history, Hail Satan? is an inspiring and entertaining new feature documentary from acclaimed director Penny Lane (Nuts!, Our Nixon). When media-savvy members of the Satanic Temple organize a series of public actions designed to advocate for religious freedom and challenge corrupt authority, they prove that with little more than a clever idea, a mischievous sense of humor, and a few rebellious friends, you can speak truth to power in some truly profound ways. As charming and funny as it is thought-provoking, Hail Satan? offers a timely look at a group of often misunderstood outsiders whose unwavering commitment to social and political justice has empowered thousands of people around the world.

Hail Satan? will be in theaters April 19th! You can learn more and find tickets at https://www.hailsatanfilm.com/.

Witchcraft Activism

Not too long ago I posted a photo on social media of all the books/decks that I have yet to write reviews for and asked for people’s opinion on what they’d like to see first. The overwhelming response was to review “Witchcraft Activism: A Toolkit for Magical Resistance” by David Salisbury next. I can’t say as I blame anyone who voted for it. In this time of political upheaval people now, more than ever, are looking for a way to take action.

The good news is, “Witchcraft Activism” gets the job done. Obviously if you’re a magical practitioner, the idea of effecting change with magic isn’t an outlandish idea. However, I was happy to see Salisbury clearly show the similarities (similarities that never occurred to me) between magic and activism. Both require a serious reflection on intention and the work of follow through. Salisbury has a background in activism and takes you step by step through any type of activism that may interest you: lobbying, letter writing, marches, and more. Then add to that an inspiring number of ways you can utilize magic to reinforce and improve on those actions! He discusses sigils, candle spells, spirit servitors, and of course, more.

David Salisbury has created a great guide for aspiring activists. You could ignore all the magical elements and still walk away with a fantastic book on activism. As far as I’m concerned, the informative magical information is just icing on the cake! Highly recommended!

You can learn more here.

Banned Books Week 2018

It’s the end of September again, so it is time to remind all of you about the important work the American Library Association does in the form of Banned Books Week. For those unfamiliar with the event, you must be new to my site. Welcome! Here’s a brief description from the ALA:

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Highlighting the value of free and open access to information, Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek, to publish, to read, and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. While books have been and continue to be banned, part of the Banned Books Week celebration is the fact that, in a majority of cases, the books have remained available. This happens only thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

This year’s theme is “Banning Books Silences Stories”. You can learn more about the impact of Banned Books Week by visiting the site.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 354 challenges to library, school and university materials in 2017. Of the 416 books challenged or banned in 2017, the Top 10 Most Challenged Books are:

Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”

The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”

George written by Alex Gino
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.

Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”

To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.

The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.

And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labeled because it features a same-sex relationship.

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.

Banned Books Week 2017

(text from the American Library Association website)

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers — in shared support of the freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

To continue to raise awareness about the harms of censorship and the freedom to read, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) publishes an annual list of the Top Ten Most Challenged Books, using information from public challenges reported in the media, as well as censorship reports submitted to the office through its challenge reporting form.

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. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.

The books featured during Banned Books Week and National Library Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. But out of the hundreds of challenges ALA records every year, only about 10% of books are removed from the location where the challenge took place, thanks to local literary champions such as librarians, students, and patrons who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read.

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are:

This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.

Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

George written by Alex Gino
Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”

I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.

Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

Looking for Alaska written by John Green
This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”

Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.

Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”

Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.

Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.

Yes, books are still banned. Five of the 10 titles on the Top Ten list were removed from the location where the challenge took place. On average, OIF finds that 10% of challenges result in the removal of the book.

The First Amendment guarantees all of us the freedom to read. The Library Bill of Rights, a foundational document of the library profession, states libraries should challenge censorship and present all points of view, for the enlightenment of all people.

For the first time in Top Ten history, a book was challenged solely because of its author. Bill Cosby’s Little Bill series was challenged because of sexual allegations against the author.

Challenges continue to target LGBT material, and there is a rise in “sexually explicit” as a challenge category.

The Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles the Top Ten list by documenting public challenges (challenges that are reported in the media), as well as censorship reports submitted through the office’s reporting form, in our database.

Learn more about the American Library Association and Banned Books Week here.