What Are Banned Books?


As the year comes to a start, the Battle of the Books season is already well off in preparing for the district battle. I took a deeper look at the list for this year. On the list is a graphic novel titled Banned Book Club which takes place in Korea during 1983 or the 5th Republic, and that brings to mind, what are banned books.

I asked this question to Marcus Reese, a teacher here at Dimond. “My understanding is that a banned book is any book that has been restricted in its access.” Mr. Reese teaches AP Language and Composition, English II Honors, and Film as Literature, and provided his detailed comprehension of the term.

To dive deeper into the subject, I did some research on banned books and found out that here in the United States, we host a week every year called Banned Books Week. Banned books week happens annually typically in September. This year banned books week was from Sunday, September 18th to Saturday, September 24th, 2022. The whole purpose of Banned Books week happening is to bring light to books that have been banned or challenged in the United States, run by the American Library Association.

The top 10 list of banned or challenged books in America this year were as follows. #10 Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin, a book on transgender teens. #9 This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson, about what it is like to grow up as a queer kid. #8 The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, is about a young African American girl growing up in the years following the Great Depression. #7 Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews, is a coming-of-age novel that follows a teen boy. #6 The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, is a book about a young teen boy of Native American descent who aspires to be a cartoonist. #5 The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, follows a teenage girl who lives in a shady neighborhood but attends a private school, witnessing firsthand the racism and police brutality against her childhood friend. #4 Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez, is a book on a high school romance between a Mexican-American girl and an African-American boy from the 1930s up until a school explosion in 1937. #3 All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson, is a series of essays about growing up as a queer black man in New Jersey and Virginia. #2 Lawn Boy by Jonathan Evison, a young Mexican-American man who has been through hardships since childhood going through self-discovery. #1 Gender Queer by Maia Kobabe, is a graphic memoir following the trials and tribulations of the author with gender identity.

Each of these books was banned and challenged for a list of reasons. For having content relating to the LGBTQIA+ fall five of the books. For profane language, fall three of these books, and for being considered sexually explicit fall nine of the ten books. This proves that the reasons for banning books tend to be of similar causes. If you want to know more, then our school library has many banned books available to check out.