The American Library Association (ALA), with the national Banned Books Week planning committee, today announced that this year’s celebration of the freedom to read will emphasize a thematic focus on comics and graphic novels. This year’s Banned Books Week, Sept. 21 — 27, will shine a light on this still misunderstood form of storytelling and will celebrate the value of graphic novels to readers from all walks of life through the work performed by Banned Books Week sponsors and individual librarians, retailers and readers from all over the world.
“This year we spotlight graphic novels because, despite their serious literary merit and popularity as a genre, they are often subject to censorship,” said Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee.
Recently, the acclaimed memoir “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel, has been the flashpoint in a university funding controversy in South Carolina, while last year “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi, faced an attempted ban in the Chicago Public Schools. Graphic novels continually show up on the American Library Association’s (ALA) Top 10 list of Frequently Challenged Books. The ALA released its current list in April and includes Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” at the top spot and Jeff Smith’s series “Bone” arriving at #10.
“Once again the ALA is delighted to be part of a coalition to make the public aware that books are still being banned and challenged around the country,” said ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom Director Barbara Jones. “Banned Books Week will serve as an opportunity for libraries, authors, booksellers, publishers, educators, and many other stakeholders to continue their efforts to safeguard the freedom to read.”
Banned Books Week celebrates the Freedom to Read by encouraging readouts, displays, and community activities designed to raise awareness of the ongoing threats of censorship that continue to occur. Bannedbooksweek.org is a hub for information about how individuals and institutions can become involved in celebrating this important event. The website also includes resources and activities provided by event sponsors.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, Freedom to Read Foundation, National Association of College Stores, National Coalition Against Censorship, National Council of Teachers of English, PEN American Center, and Project Censored.