Banned Books Reading Challenge 2017

Banned and Challenged Books, Office for Intellectual Freedom

By: Cathy Collins

2017 Banned Books Reading ChallengeAs any book lover knows, it can be a challenge to get through the piles of unread books on our “to read” list. It is all too easy to let reading for pleasure fall to the bottom of our priorities in the midst of our busy lives. In fact, an argument could be made that there is nothing more important, short maybe of breathing, in terms of opening our eyes to new perspectives.

At the start of this new year, we thought it would be fun, as well as inspiring, to challenge our readers to pursue the reading of banned books. The reading challenges below offer multitudes of possibility for expanded horizons. Our handy bookmark checklist will move you beyond the goal of simply reading more, to reading more of “the good stuff;” the good stuff being those books that have been deemed controversial enough to contain hidden nuggets of imagination, inventiveness, and revelation about life and the human condition. Enjoy, and share your progress through the hashtag: #IFReads2017

Contributors from the 2017 IF Blog Team: Mack Freeman, April Dawkins and myself… Cathy Collins

“The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame.”

(Oscar Wilde, author of the much censored and maligned The Picture of Dorian Gray)

Banned Books Reading Challenge 2017

26 books (goal: one book every two weeks!)

  1. A picture book that has been on the top 10 challenges in the last five years
  2. A children’s book (not picture book) that has been on the top 10 challenges list in the last five years
  3. A young adult novel that has been on the top 10 challenges in the last five years
  4. A children’s book from the most frequently challenged children’s book list
  5. A young adult title from the most frequently challenged children’s book list
  6. A book originally published outside the United States that has been banned or challenged in its home country
  7. A non-fiction book that deals with First Amendment issues or intellectual freedom
  8. An adult novel that has been on the top 10 challenges in the last five years
  9. An LGBTQ novel that has been challenged or banned
  10. A memoir or autobiography by a controversial person
  11. A classic novel that has been challenged or banned — Suggestions
  12. A book with diverse content (other than LGBTQ) that has been challenged or banned — Suggestions
  13. A graphic novel that has been challenged or banned
  14. Reread a book you haven’t read since high school that has been challenged or banned
  15. A book that is challenged somewhere in the United States in 2017
  16. A book published before you were born that has been challenged or banned
  17. A book whose main character is an adherent of a religion that is not your own
  18. A book by an author whose work has appeared on the top 10 challenged list more than once
  19. Read a challenged title by an author of color
  20. Read the first book in a series that has been challenged
  21. Read a non-fiction title (not a biography, memoir, or autobiography) that has been challenged or banned
  22. A book written by a non-U.S. citizen that has been challenged this year
  23. A sci-fi or fantasy book that has been challenged in the past 10 years
  24. A non-fiction book about science that has been challenged
  25. A book about politics in your country or another (fiction or non-fiction) that has been challenged
  26. A book about feminism or dealing with feminist themes that has been challenged

Download the Printable Bookmarks

Free People Read Freely


Cathy CollinsCathy Collins has worked as a media specialist/librarian for 15 years. She is currently a library media specialist at Sharon High School, where she has worked for the past five years. She began her career as a reporter who covered business, arts and education-related issues.  She received a “Teachers for Global Classrooms” fellowship from the U.S. State Dept. in 2014 and is the recipient of AASL’s Intellectual Freedom Award (2014). She was named an MSLA “Super Librarian” in 2014, and earned National Board Certification as a Library/Media Teacher in 2009. She received the HNA “Teacher of the Year” award in 2015 for excellence in teaching about China. In her spare time, she enjoys nature walks, reading, world travel, and yoga. Find her on Twitter @TechGypsy11.

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