This week, libraries and bookstores across the country are observing Banned Books Week, an annual event since 1982. This year’s theme is “Celebrating Diversity.” As the Association of American Publishers (AAP) notes, “The majority of banned books are disproportionally from diverse authors.” Books with themes of race and racism, gender identity, sexuality, and religious difference are also more likely to be challenged or banned.
What message does this send to young people? First, that difference is bad and unacceptable. Second, that voices that deviate from the norm (whatever that is) are suspect and dangerous. Challenging books with diverse content stigmatizes many in our community, limits learning and growth, and stifles the healthy dialogue that should be at the center of our schools and democracy.
Fortunately, we have access to more diverse perspectives in young adult literature than ever before. The Hill Top Library proudly features contemporary and classic books by diverse authors; themes of difference, bias, and equity; and characters with a wide range of intersecting identities. Our collection includes many frequently challenged titles, which also happen to be awesome books. Celebrate your freedom to read, and check ’em out!
Note: Books pictured (in Hill Top Library) have all been frequently challenged.