Today kicks off Banned Books Week in the US, one week each year to celebrate the books people have told us we shouldn’t be reading, to celebrate our freedom to read, think, and say whatever we want, to fight fascist censors who try to remove our books from libraries and bookstores. This week, I’ll be celebrating Banned Books Week by talking about some of my favorite banned and challenged books, including:
- Harry Potter
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Fahrenheit 451
- The Fault in Our Stars
- The Catcher in The Rye
- Lord of the Flies
- and so many more!
As a child, my parents and teachers always encouraged me to read more, and to read everything. It’s what gave me my love of reading. And when life got too confusing or hard to deal with, books both gave me an outlet to escape and a world to relate to. Some books on the banned and challenged lists taught me some of my most important lessons as a child and a teenager. The Harry Potter series taught me about hope and bravery and loyalty. To Kill a Mockingbird taught me to be a friend. The Perks of Being a Wallflower taught me that I wasn’t alone. Fahrenheit 451 taught me the importance of being my own person and of learning. When we ban books we deny a child the right to find a connection, to find their own world.
To kick off Banned Books Week, I asked my followers on Bookstagram to share their favorite banned or challenged book and why they loved it so much:
- Looking for Alaska by John Green – @knitmestories
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky – “I just remember reading it a while ago and realizing that I wasn’t alone in what I was feeling. It’s just so important to have books like this for other people and kids to understand that we’re not alone in how we feel even though sometimes it feels that way. I also loved Looking for Alaska for the same reason.” – @bevb1316
- Beloved by Toni Morrison – “I read this book in my AP English class when I was a senior in high school. It opened my eyes to the psychological and physical abuse that African American women endured as slaves. It was such an emotional book that parts of it brought my to tears, which says a lot when you are a jaded 17 year old.” – @idigbooksanddirt
Stay tuned throughout the week for some more favorite banned books!