Banned Books Week, 2020

Warning: This post gets a little inappropriate. I’m going to say some words like vagina and fuck. You’ve been warned. 

It’s that time again, my favorite bookish holiday of the year. Banned Books week!

I love this yearly reminder that we’ve got to fight for our right to freedom of expression. No surprise, it’s sort of a big deal. I like to write and read about difficult topics. Maybe you do too. Maybe you don’t, but you still think other people should be able to. Maybe you also just think books get banned for really stupid reasons and you’re just not down for censorship. 

#fuckcensorship.

All that being said, let’s get into the good stuff. Here’s the list of the top ten most banned books from 2019. This information is from the website ALA.org. If you can, please check them out and help out with a donation. 

Ten-And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole

Banned for LGBTQIA+. When are we going to stop doing this?

Nine-Harry Potter by JK. Rowling

Banned due to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells and for characters using ‘nefarious means’ to obtain goals. 

Really? Actual spells. Someone tried to come at this discussion by stating that Harry Potter has actual spells. Let me assure you, it doesn’t. What in the actual hell are these people thinking? Having known quite a few witches and Wiccans in my life and being honored to call them friends, I promise none of them are whipping up Polyjuice Potion. It’s more like, “Let’s put some herbs on this candle and light it, then pray that your grandma gets over that bad head cold. But also, here’s some cold medicine.”

Oh look, I just gave you a real spell! Scandalous! 

Eight-Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Banned for  LGBTQIA+. 

Seven-The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Banned for profanity, vulgarity and sexual overtones. 

Allegedly. I think it’s banned for putting wild ideas like freedom in people’s heads. This isn’t a good book for people who want to, I don’t know, run for a third term (fourth, fifth), suspend rights to peacefully protest, strip people of their right to vote and you know, ban books.

Six-I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, Illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Banned for sexual content and matter that is sensitive, controversial and politically charged. 

Wouldn’t it be nice if we taught kids how to have a conversation about difficult topics? Just a thought. Seems like having a book as a jumping-off point would be a great tool.

But what do I know?

Five-Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Banned for, and I’m paraphrasing here, making it seem like being gay is, you know, okay. 

Four-Sex is a funny word by Cory Silverberg, Illustrated by Fiona Smyth

You know what, it is a funny word. I mean, I guess every word is funny when you think about it. Fork, pickle, card, typewriter. How do we decide these things?

Anyway, this book was banned for sexual content, LGBTQIA+ content and discussing sex education.

Our country needs sex education. Honest to goodness, there are some men who still thing women pee from their vagina. I don’t want to draw a diagram here, folks.

Three-A day in the life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Please understand that this is a book for little kids. It’s a picture book. I bought a copy for my friend’s little son. It’s a cute story about a cute bunny who happens to be gay.

But of course, that’s not okay. Why let kids know it’s okay to be who they are? Or that there might be people who are gay, and that’s okay.

Maybe we’d prefer to let people continue to force themselves into molds they were never built to fit in, then sit around and wonder why they’re breaking.

Two- Beyond Magenta: Transgender teens speak out by Susan Kuklin

Banned for its effect on any young people who would read it. What, are they afraid it would give them wild ideas about not judging people based on their gender or sex? 

One-George by Alex Gino

This one made me laugh. It’s also banned for LGBTQIA+ material. But there’s a quote here. I don’t know who said it but I wish I did. 

“Libraries should not put books in a child’s hand that require discussion.” 

Well, what the fuck do we have libraries for, then? I was pretty sure that a book was supposed to require discussion. What was the last book you read that didn’t make you ask questions? I bet it was a boring one. 

I’ll leave you now with my banned book choice of the year. This year I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood. What are you reading for banned book week? Let us know in the comments below.

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