Banned Books Week celebration includes Google Hangouts, user-generated videos

Banned Books Week is being celebrated from Sept. 22 to Sept. 28 this year.

The 'Captain Underpants' series by Dav Pilkey was listed as the most-banned books of 2012 by the American Library Association.

Banned Books Week, the national recognition of a reader's right to enjoy whatever book he or she chooses, is being held this year from Sept. 22 to Sept. 28, and bookstores, libraries, and readers around the country are celebrating.

One new portion of the week this year is the Twitter parties being held to celebrate banned books. The first was held on Sept. 23 for two hours (between 10 AM and 12 PM EST) and the second will be held on Sept. 25, also for two hours (between 12 and 2 PM EST). Those wanting to join in can tweet using various hashtags or tweet at various accounts associated with Banned Books Week (find all of them on the Banned Books Week website here).

One portion of the event brought back from past years by sponsors is the Virtual Read-Out, in which readers of all ages are encouraged to upload YouTube videos of themselves delivering a portion of a banned book, remembering an incident in which they saw a book challenged, or promoting Banned Books Week in some other way. Videos will be added to the Banned Books Week YouTube channel, and so far, titles such as “The Great Gatsby,” “Of Mice and Men,” and “Lord of the Flies” have been featured in Virtual Read-Out videos.

Authors who have had their books banned are also participating in Google Hangouts as part of the week, with writers Sherman Alexie, Lauren Oliver, Jay Asher, and others set to be included.

Sponsors of Banned Books Week will also announce people or organizations they’ve found to be Banned Books Heroes, those “who have stood up to defend their freedom to read,” according to the Banned Books Week website.

Those wanting to get involved more locally can check out the ALA Events page to find a celebration of Banned Books Week happening in their area.

A list of the most challenged books of 2012 was announced in April, with the the “Captain Underpants” series by Dav Pilkey taking first place. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie secured second place, while “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher took third and “Fifty Shades of Grey” by E.L. James came in fourth. Check out the full list here.

Last year, Banned Books Week celebrated its 30th anniversary.

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