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It’s time to curl up and read a banned book

hi-852-generic-books-8colSEATTLE – It’s time to recognize ‘Banned Books Week’ and celebrate the freedom to read from September 22-28. Every year hundreds of books are either removed or challenged in the United States. The American Library Association says at least 326 books were challenged in 2011, and at least 70% are never reported.

‘Banned Books was created in 1982 after a surge in challenged books. During this week, libraries and bookstores around the country attempt to highlight the problem of censorship. Many readers may not know some of their favorite books have been on the list, including J.K. Rowling’s ‘Harry Potter’ series and Suzanne Collins’ ‘the Hunger Games’ series. Listed below are the top ten most challenged titles of 2012.

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

To mark the occasion there are events planned online and nationwide. In Seattle, there are readings of banned books at Antioch University Seattle between 12pm-1 pm. Each day a group plans to read a banned book in the library. Younger people can learn about censorship at Bethel Middle School, where popular books that have been blacklisted are displayed with information about why it was banned. There’s even a Twitter party scheduled for Wednesday from 12pm-2pm EST. Supporters are being urged to use the hashtags #bannedbooksweek, #bannedbookparty, and #heroes.

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