Banned Books Week celebrates its 30th anniversary

Events included in this year's Banned Books Week include the '50 State Salute.'

The two most frequently challenged books last year, according to the American Library Association, were the 'ttyl' series by Lauren Myracle and the 'Color of Earth' series by Kim Dong Hwa.

Banned Books Week, an event usually celebrated in the last week of September in which libraries, bookstores, teachers, and others celebrate the freedom to read and present the books that they choose, is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year.

One part of the celebration this year is the “50 State Salute,” a movement organized by the American Library Association in which organizations from each state record a video representing the importance of having the liberty to choose books freely. Organizations such as schools, colleges, libraries, and bookstores can participate with videos of up to five minutes long.

Sponsors of Banned Books Week are also holding the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out campaign for the second year in a row, in which users can upload to YouTube a video in which they read a banned or challenged book out loud. Participants can also videotape a person who saw a book being banned or challenged recounting their experience or make a video that in some other way promotes Banned Books Week. Users can upload their videos to the Read-Out YouTube channel.

Various communities are also holding events to celebrate books the right to read, along with specific books that have been banned or challenged. Some common activities include reading banned or challenged books out loud or prominently displaying in libraries or bookstores books that were banned or challenged.

The American Library Association often releases its list of the 10 most challenged books of the year in April. This past spring, the “ttyl” series by Lauren Myracle was cited as most frequently challenged for its plotlines on teen sexuality and offensive language, while the graphic novels “The Color of Earth” by Kim Dong Hwa came in second place for their depiction of nudity and sex education in the series. (Check out more of the list here.)

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