This week is #BannedBooksWeek. Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read and discuss controversial ideas and theories. "Why is it so important to raise awareness of banned books?" You ask. Well, banning books is a process of censorship which supresses speech, communication or information deemed a threat to security. The reason many oppose censorship is because the freedom of information is a vital part of society. Without it, governments could do as they wished, the world would have one voice; a voice without opinion or compromise and innovation would slow down due to the lack of collaboration and funding. In its essence, Banned Books Week highlights the importance of fighting against censorship.
So, are you as courageous as Jane Eyre or cowardly like Harry Potter's Gilderoy Lockhart? Before you decide if you're pro censorship or against it, here's a list of the TOP TEN banned books in 2017 and the reasons why:
Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
Originally published in 2007, this New York Times bestseller has resurfaced as a controversial book after Netflix aired a TV series by the same name. This YA novel was challenged and banned in multiple school districts because it discusses suicide.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
Consistently challenged since its publication in 2007 for acknowledging issues such as poverty, alcoholism, and sexuality, this National Book Award winner was challenged in school curriculums because of profanity and situations that were deemed sexually explicit.
Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
This Stonewall Honor Award-winning, 2012 graphic novel from an acclaimed cartoonist was challenged and banned in school libraries because it includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing.”
The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
This critically acclaimed, multigenerational novel was challenged and banned because it includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam.”
George written by Alex Gino
Written for elementary-age children, this Lambda Literary Award winner was challenged and banned because it includes a transgender child.
Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
This 2015 informational children’s book written by a certified sex educator was challenged because it addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex.”
To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, considered an American classic, was challenged and banned because of violence and its use of the N-word.
The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
Despite winning multiple awards and being the most searched-for book on Goodreads during its debut year, this YA novel was challenged and banned in school libraries and curriculums because it was considered “pervasively vulgar” and because of drug use, profanity, and offensive language.
And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
Returning after a brief hiatus from the Top Ten Most Challenged list, this ALA Notable Children’s Book, published in 2005, was challenged and labelled because it features a same-sex relationship.
I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
This autobiographical picture book co-written by the 13-year-old protagonist was challenged because it addresses gender identity.
If like us at Lodestone Books you'd be mortified if 13 Reasons Why had never hit Netflix in 2017, then here's some titles that raise some controversial yet very important issues for teenagers and young adults today:
Bird Without Wings by Cally Pepper
Scarlett is sixteen. She’s glad to be finishing high school because she feels unpopular and not especially attractive. Following the mysterious disappearance of her father, and then an attempted
date-rape by her best friend’s older brother, Scarlett is confused, friendless and lonely.
Then strange things begin to happen. Scarlett discovers a beautiful and mystical world that exists in parallel to the real world, the Fae (Fairy) World, and is happy to escape to this amazing place which is inhabited by some beautiful, friendly and sexy, winged Fae people.
Etched in Lies by A.M. Hughes
It looked like a paper cut, but sixteen-year-old Dylan Lord is discovering just how painful lies can be.
Every lie she tells or hears causes physical pain. It isn't coincidence this started with Jack. He’s there to teach her to be a “Fide”; to feel and heal lies.
She wants to believe nothing is happening. A letter opener sliced her hand, not her mother’s “I love you.” The cuts opening on her arms as she walks through her high school were already there, but it’s not working. Every wound she suffers Jack does too. When a lie rips open across Dylan’s stomach, she must admit she isn't fine.
She never asked for this. She doesn't want to be a walking lie detector, but not all lies can be covered with Band-Aids. The lies she hasn't fixed are spreading across her body, and she isn't the only one suffering. Jack is growing weaker. She has to hear the truth to heal. If she doesn't hear the truth soon, someone is going to die.
The Gypsy Trail by Nicole Leigh West
A 16th-century chateau hides Claudia Spencer's teenage hell. Living a modern-gothic nightmare as the ward of 'ancient people' and the 'evil Gatekeeper', her imagination bleeds into reality as she
suffers loneliness, abuse and confusion.
A caravan of gypsies arrive on the property and secrets of her past unravel with lessons of magic, gypsy lore, spirituality and first love. Shedding her fears, Claudia struggles internally as she discovers the power of her own magic and launches on a quest for freedom, belonging and love.
From the Czech countryside, to the astral plane and the gritty streets of London, escape means daring adventure on a blazing trail of loss, heartache and betrayal.
Inside the Palisade by K.C. Maguire
Omega has grown up surrounded by women – literally. Inside the palisade, women fall in love, marry and raise daughters, relying on an artificial insemination process known as the Procedure. But something goes horribly wrong. One day, Omega comes face to face with a mythical monster – a man – within the society’s walls. Men had been eradicated long ago to protect women from the threat of violence. But this boy is not what Omega has been led to believe. And he needs her help. She soon finds herself embroiled in a manhunt headed by a vigilante Protector, Commander Theta. When she falls into Theta’s clutches, Omega realizes that there’s more to the banishment of men, and to her own past, than she’s ever known. Ultimately, she is forced to make a choice between betraying the lost boy and betraying her society, a decision complicated by the realization that she has more in common with him than she cares to admit, and the fact that she is developing feelings for him.
Passions of the Wolf by Beth Murray
A young woman tries to commit suicide. She changes her mind at the last moment, and sends a plea out to the world, receiving a sign that things will improve. With the help of her psychiatrist, she begins to deal with her past and the reasons for her self-harming, but a romantic relationship with an abusive man could ruin everything.
Reggie & Me by Marie Yates
FINALIST of the WINTER 2014/2015 THE PEOPLE'S BOOK PRIZE
Reggie & Me is the first book in the Dani Moore Trilogy. Dani's story is told through her diary in the wake of her rape and subsequent court case. Having moved with her mum, Dani starts Year Eleven at a new school, facing various challenges that bring a renewed energy to face whatever is thrown at her and to carry on regardless. She realises that ‘normality’ is something that she can define herself, with the help of her dog Reggie and the people around her.
Reggie & Me is more than a story of survival, as the reader is taken on an inspiring journey of personal development, interweaved with tools that girls and young women can use to create the
positive future they deserve.
Tramp Life by Tony Telford
'There is another world, and it is in this one.'
Pearly James is fed up with being lonely. She's fed up with her pointless, boring school life. And she's deeply fed up with the fake, numbing, conformist world of screen culture that seems to enslave all her schoolmates. She just knows there must be something more.
Change is what she really wants, but who or what will make it happen? Enter Bernard O'Hare, the computer genius with his trademark black overcoat and green, staring eyes...
Both an adventure and a cry against the new global conformity, Tramp Life is the story of how one girl discovers another world hidden behind humdrum existence. A world of danger and delight, music, madness...and maybe friendship, too.
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