ABFFE Offers Resources for Banned Books Week Celebrations

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Banned Books Week runs from September 22 to 28 this year, and bookstores across the country will be celebrating the freedom to read with in-store events and displays. A new addition to the resources available to stores from the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression (ABFFE) is a selected list of banned books featuring a greater number of recent titles in addition to classics that have been targeted by censors for years.

“Over the years, we have received a lot of feedback from booksellers who would like to see more recent titles highlighted,” said ABFFE President Chris Finan.

The list encompasses titles from 1980 forward and is drawn from a number of resources, including the American Library Association’s list of frequently challenged titles and titles that the Kids’ Right to Read Project has defended in the course of its work.

Booksellers can find 137 of the more than 250 selected titles conveniently listed on Edelweiss for easy searching. “Booksellers can not only order from the list, but they can also use the list to search for the titles they already have on their shelves,” said Finan.

Ingram Content Group has teamed with ABFFE to offer Banned Books Week in a Box, which delivers a promotional kit to the first 150 qualifying orders placed for Banned Books Week titles. The kit contains everything a bookseller would need to assemble a Banned Books Week display, including 200 bookmarks, 30 buttons, 10 bumper stickers, 30 feet of caution tape, and one of ABFFE’s popular “Freadom” T-shirts.

ABFFE’s “Freadom” T-shirts, as well as buttons and stickers, are also available for purchase at a discount. Additionally, the ABFFE Banned Book Week Handbook includes ideas for easy and inexpensive ways to participate, including free posters and images, display and event suggestions, and the stories behind selected banned books. Booksellers hosting Banned Books Week events can post information in a searchable directory for customers to easily find nearby celebrations.

Booksellers are also invited to participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out of banned and challenged titles by posting videos on the Banned Books Week website of customers and authors reading excerpts from favorite tiles.

While booksellers have an ever-expanding collection of titles to choose from for Banned Books Week celebrations, the top 10 most challenged books from 2012, as compiled by the American Library Association, include:

  • Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  • Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  • Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  • And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  • The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  • Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  • Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  • The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

For the full list of more than 250 titles compiled by ABFFE, e-mail info@abbfe.org, and visit BannedBooksWeek.org for more information.