Celebrate Banned Books: September 23-29

4 min read

| By Traci Cothran |

I just LOVE Banned Books Week.  Don’t get me wrong: I don’t like that we need a Banned Books Week, it’s just that I love thinking about all the books I’ve read that are on various banned lists, as so many of them are near and dear to me.  Then it gets my dander up to think about all the kids who don’t get to experience these great works because someone, somewhere decided there’s something unpalatable about a book.

We talk a lot in education these days about critical thinking skills, but at the first glimpse of something that may be unfamiliar, different, or perhaps uncomfortable, some people want to whisk it out of sight, as if kids will never be exposed to the topic ever again.  Now just how can kids learn to think critically and independently if we hide from them all manner of works, authors, storylines?

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas is the latest book that I absolutely LOVE that’s been banned in a few places.  This novel is brilliant, difficult, heartbreaking and hopeful.  It tackles the tough but timely topic of an unarmed African-American teen getting killed by a white policeman.  “Why all the negativity about cops?” people ask as they’ve challenged the work – failing to note that the main character’s uncle is an African-American police detective, and the author has carefully woven many viewpoints into this story.  And why shouldn’t we be talking about this topic that is so often in the news?  It’s an important conversation to be having, as over one million people who’ve read this book can attest – and many more people will see the movie releasing in October!

Fortunately, there are many champions of free speech, and LIBRARIANS are those superheroes!  Here at Gale, we offer some great tools that librarians, educators, and students can use to explore banned books in all their glory.  Here are just a few from our GVRL eBook collection:

Silenced in the Library: Banned Books in America by Zeke Jarvis. Santa Barbara, CA: Greenwood, 2017. 289 pp.

Banned Books by Marcia Amidon Lusted, ed. At Issue New York: Greenhaven, 2018. 88 pp.

Banned Books:

Threats to Civil Liberties: Speech by Stephen Currie. San Diego: ReferencePoint Press, 2019. 80 pp.

Our bestselling Novels for Students eBook series covers so many of banned books we cannot list them all here, so here are just a handful of my favorites:

  • The Hate U Give, Novels for Students, Volume 59 (publishes October 2018)
  • Lord of the Flies, Novels for Students, Volume 56
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, Novels for Students, Volume 2
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Novels for Students, Volume 32
  • The Bluest Eye, Novels for Students, Volume 1
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Novels for Students, Volume 2
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Novels for Students, Volume 38
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Novels for Students, Volume 47

For more information about Banned Books Week, go to https://bannedbooksweek.org/ and http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.

The Banned Books eBook Collection is now available! Reach out to your Sales Consultant today >>


Traci J. Cothran

Meet the Author

Traci Cothran is a manager in Gale’s Database Program and a history buff, so she can often be found watching videos from the early 1900s in Gale’s World History In Context.  

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