It’s not every day that reading feels revolutionary.
Anachronistic, sure, like when you’re reading a book in public and people stare at you like you’re rubbing two sticks together to make a fire. Reading can even occasionally feel countercultural, like rocking a fanny pack without irony. But revolutionary?
Banned Books Week, which runs September 23-28, 2018, is a reader’s best chance to link arms with their comrades and march-step in song. Do you hear the people sing?
416 books were banned or challenged in 2017. Here are the Top 10:
10. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, Shelagh McNicholas (Illustrator) (addresses gender identity)
9. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole (Illustrator) (features a same-sex relationship)
8. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas (features drug use and profanity)
7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (violence, racial slurs)
6. Sex Is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, Fiona Smyth (Illustrator) (sex-ed)
5. George by Alex Gino (includes transgender child)
4. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (violence, religious themes)
3. Drama by Raina Telgemeier (includes LGBTQ+ characters)
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (profanity, sexually explicit situations)
1. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (discusses suicide)
No doubt these books address heavy themes; more than half address gender identity and sexuality.
But remember, in the past, banned books have included the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic; Sophie’s Choice by William Styron; The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier; and Beloved by Toni Morrison.
In some ways, perhaps, today’s banned books are tomorrow’s classics.
And this revolution will not be televised.
Instead, you’ll find it inside a book.