Sunday marked the beginning of the annual Banned Books Week in the U.S., a project created by "a national alliance of diverse organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read." The program was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. In case you may wonder if it's still relevant today, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, according to the American Library Association.
Because it's estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, this year Banned Books Week will celebrate literature written by diverse writers that has been banned or challenged, as well as explore why diverse books are being disproportionately singled out in the first place.
Individual books showcased during Banned Books Week have all been targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools. Fortunately, thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read, most of these books still remained available.
If you would like to participate, there are events spread through the country. Check this listing for one near you or participate in one of the online webcasts. For further reading and resources, you can also visit the ALA's website.
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