Sofia El Mouak, A&E Writer

“When it comes down to reading, you have the right to do it. There is no wrong or right. If you want to read, you read. No one can tell you that you are not able to read”.

September 25th – October 1st 2016 was Banned Book Week (BBW), an annual event promoted by American Library Association and Amnesty International. The aim of this project is to educate about censorship by bringing attention to banned and challenged books. Every year since 1982, many events and activities are organized world wide during the last week of September to promote this campaign.

Events consist in several discussions about censored and challenged books, freedom of the press and censorship and freedom to read, both related to 19th and 20th centuries and to more recent banned/challenged books. Some activities also include comparisons with censored masterpiece by great poets and intellectuals such as William Shakespeare, Voltaire, and Homer.

Last year, the most challenged book was John Green’s Looking for Alaska, followed by E. L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey and Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jenning’s I Am Jazz.

Many of the books that have been banned were the one that have made America itself: The Adventure of Huckleberry Finn, The Call of the Wild, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.


• Since the first Banned Book Week, 11,300 books have been challenged or banned.
• So far, the most popular reasons to challenge a book have been “offensive language” and “sexually explicit”.
• The top banned/challenged book has been J. K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series.
• Most books are often challenged by parents, who think that that their children should read books that are too explicit.
• The Bible still appears in the list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books because of religious controversies and different points of view.