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Virtual Displays: Freedom to Read / Banned Book Week 2023

Freedom to Read Week / Banned Book Week

Welcome to Freedom to Read Week!  This week we celebrate our freedom to read what we choose free of censorship. 

Since it was founded in 1982, Banned Books Week, now also called Freedom to Read Week, has highlighted the value of free and open access to information by drawing attention to the attempts to remove books and other materials from libraries, schools, and bookstores. 

The past few years have seen an upsurge in censorship attempts in the form of book challenges, book bans, and attacks on school and public libraries. 

What is Freedom to Read Week / Banned Books Week?

Freedom to Read Week (also called Banned Book Week) is an annual celebration that draws attention to challenges to books and books that have been banned in schools and libraries.  Librarians WANT you to have the freedom to make your own choices about the books you read!  Books are often challenge or banned for supposed moral or religious reasons, or sometimes just because a single person disagrees with a character or story.  Often challenges are brought by a minority, albeit a loud one, who want to control the access of everyone.  But librarians believe in your freedom to read whatever you choose. 

To the right you will find the Top Thirteen challenged books from the past year, 2022.  2022 continued to see an increase in challenges to books about and by LGBTQ+ and BIPOC individuals.

Below you can find books in the Viterbo Library that are currently banned from schools and libraries around the country. 


These books are currently banned around the country

Milk and Honey

Banned in: Utah, Missouri, Texas, Florida, Iowa


Banned in: Utah, Florida, North Dakota, South Carolina, Texas

This One Summer

Banned in: Utah, Texas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Florida

Out of Darkness

Banned in: Florida, South Carolina, Texas, Utah

The Handmaid's Tale

Banned in: Iowa, Florida, Texas, Utah


Banned in: Missouri

Last Night at the Telegraph Club

Banned in: Iowa, Texas

When Aidan Became a Brother

Banned in: Virginia

Separate Is Never Equal

Banned in: Texas


Banned in: Florida, Pennsylvania

Jacob's New Dress

Banned in: Florida

Looking for Alaska

Banned in: Texas, Utah, South Carolina, North Dakota, Florida, Iowa


Banned in: Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

Banned in: Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas

Thirteen Reasons Why

Banned in: Florida, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah

The Bluest Eye

Banned in: Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Iowa

The Hate U Give

Banned in: Florida, Missouri, North Dakota, Pennsylvania

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Banned in: Michigan, Florida, North Dakota,South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia

The Kite Runner

Banned in: South Carolina, Florida, Utah

To Kill a Mockingbird

Banned in: Florida

And Tango Makes Three

Banned in: Florida, Pennsylvania,


Banned in: Florida, South Carolina

Gender Queer: a Memoir

Banned in: Utah, Wyoming, Florida, Michigan, New York, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Texas,

All Boys Aren't Blue

Banned in: Florida, Michigan, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Iowa

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl

Banned in: South Carolina, North Dakota, Florida


Banned in: Texas, Utah, Florida, North Dakota, South Carolina

Melissa (previously Published As GEORGE)

Banned in: Florida, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Texas

Ongoing Censorship

Since the start of the 2022-2023 school year — July through July — PEN America recorded 3,362 book bans in public school classrooms and libraries across the country. This is an increase of 33% from the previous school year.  These bans removed student access to 1,557 unique book titles. 

The ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom released even greater numbers (3,923 total and 1915 unique titles) and those are just from January - August 2023. 

Book challenges continue and new laws and policies are being enacted to censor what is being taught in school, what books can be purchased, and what books and ideas individuals can access.

There has been an increase in challenges reflecting the recent backlash and ongoing debates surrounding the teaching and discussion of race and racism in American history, LGBTQ+ identities, and sexual education in schools.  Trends also show an uptick in challenges originating from legislators and administrators, ie. government censorship.

You may have heard of the "Don't Say Gay" law passed in Florida or about Texas's "Critical Race Theory Law" but there is plenty more happening right now. 

Check out :

ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom Book Ban Data Page

Newest PEN America Reports: "Banned in America: The Mounting Pressure to Censor"

"Booklash: Literary Freedom, Online Outrage, and the Language of Harm"

"Banned in the USA: The Growing Movement to Censor Books in Schools"

Find out more:

States with Book Ban Laws

Weekly Intellectual Freedom News from the ALA

News from the National Coalition Against Censorship

Most Challenged Comics since 2000

Track Critical Race Theory Bans by State

Book Challenges Nearly Doubled From 2021



More About Banned Book Week

Top 13 2022

By the Numbers

Banned Book Club

banned book club logoCheck out a new project by the Digital Public Library of America addressing the restriction of books.  They allow people in areas where books have been banned to access those books with a digital library card!  Check them out at The Banned Book Club

Increasing Censorship