Let’s Talk Banned Books


Image via Serena Montoya

Banned book week stand in Littleton Colo., at the Edwin A. Bemis public library, Sept. 24, 2018.

Serena Montoya, Managing Editor

How dare ye try to take away freedom to read!

Did you know it’s Banned Books Week? Well, now you do. Having started September 23 going until September 29, many local libraries are broadcasting which books have been banned or challenged at some point. Local libraries are even making a game out of the week event.

1. Edwin A. Bemis Public Library

Edwin A. Bemis Public Library in Littleton, Colo. got a bit creative with banned book week. They made an activity out of the week long event.

Walk in and you’ll find yourself at the information desk. Someone will be waiting there for you; simply ask about banned book week and the associate will gladly appoint you to a spinning wheel.

Spin the wheel.

It will either point to “authors,” “movies,” or “books.” Whichever one you land on you must answer a question.


Image via Serena Montoya
Spinning wheel at the Edwin A. Bemis public library in Littleton, Colo., for banned book week.

I took it upon myself to test out the contraption, landing on authors. I was then shown a photo of a book cover and asked who the author was. The book was “Fahrenheit 451” and the associate gave me multiple choices; of course I chose Ray Bradbury.

If you guess correctly there is a free prize:

Image via Serena Montoya
Boxes filled with prizes at the Edwin A. Bemis public library, in Littleton Colo., September 24, 2018.

There were two shelves, four boxes filled with knick-knacks for the winners.

2. James H. LaRue Douglass County Libraries

Take a journey south and you’ll find yourself at the James H. LaRue Douglass County Library in Highlands Ranch, Colo. The library was also displaying books for Banned Book Week. They had a small display near the entrance showing a few challenged books and inside each was a slip of paper which explained why each book had been challenged, for any reader interested. The book below is “Paper Towns” written by John Green  which the photo explains was “challenged for drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language and sexual content.”

Image via Serena Montoya
“Paper Towns” a novel written by John Green displayed at the James H. LaRue Douglass County Libraries in Highlands Ranch, Colo., for banned books week.

3. Arapahoe Community College 

Even our very own Arapahoe Community College’s library set up a shelf showing off a few books that have been challenged.

Image via Serena Montoya
Book shelf with different titles that have been banned in the ACC library on September 25, 2018 for banned book week.

Here is the list of top ten challenged books of 2017;  

  1. “Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher.
    • Challenged and banned in many school districts for discussing suicide.
  2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie.
    • Challenged in schools for profanity and sexually explicit situations.
  3. “Drama” by Raina Telgemeier.
    • Challenged and banned for LGBT characters and it was considered “confusing.”
  4. “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini.
    • Challenged and banned for sexual violence and thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
  5. “George” by Alex Gino.
    • The book was written for elementary-age children and was challenged and banned for inclusion of a transgender child.
  6. “Sex is a Funny Word” by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth.
    • A children’s book, challenged for addressing sex giving the impression children will “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
  7. “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee.
    • Challenged and banned for violence and usage of the N-word.
  8. “The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas.
    • Challenged and banned in schools for drug usage, profanity, offensive language and it was considered “pervasively vulgar.”
  9. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole.
    • Children’s book challenged for featuring a same-sex relationship.
  10. “I am Jazz” by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas.
    • Challenged for addressing gender identity.

Stop by your local public library before the end of the week to check out what books have been challenged!