It’s the final week of September, so that can only mean one thing: it’s Banned Books Week.
Banned Books Week is an annual event started by the American Library Association “celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information,” according to the ALA website.
The ALA released their Top 10 banned books of 2016 for Banned Books Week and the list contains several LGBT-themed stories.
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom keeps track of attempts made by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries and school classrooms each year, then complies a list of the top 10 titles and reasons why they have been challenged.
This year’s list can be divided into three categories of concern: sex, religion and LGBT.
The third and forth spots on the list go to I Am Jazz and Beyond Magenta, both books about transgender teens. The only books ranking higher are Looking For Alaska and Fifty Shades of Grey, both due to their graphic sexuality.
A pair of LGBT-themed books also appear further down the list, with Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home appearing at number 7 and David Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing rounding out the list at number 10.
The entire top 10 list, and the reasons they are on the list, are:
1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.
2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group and other (“profanity and atheism”).
6. The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit and unsuited for age group.
9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).