How to Defend Your Right to Read (with memes)

Banned and Challenged Books, Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is one month away. The American Library Association offers these methods to defend the books you love and your First Amendment protected right to read them.

1. When in doubt, go to the library

Libraries all across the country are hosting programs, creating displays, and collecting books. Discover what may be happening in your state.

Harry Potter at the library
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

2. Read all the books

You can’t go wrong with the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2015, but there are hundreds of other books that have been challenged or banned in libraries: young adult books, children’s books, diverse books, classics. Or check out the top 100 of the decade!

Roald Dahl’s Matilda

3. Stand in solidarity with other readers. May the odds be ever in your favor

Social media is a great way to connect with others who share the same values as you. You can unite with a twibbon on your profile picture, or share the hashtag #bannedbooksweek.

Hunger Games salute
Suzanne Collin’s Hunger Games

4. Include the kids. No one is too old for cartoons

If you need an idea on  how to bring up the topic with kids, try a book that involves the theme of intellectual freedom. Or show kids this Captain Underpants poster.

Captain Underpants
Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants

5. Stand up to bullies

To stand up, you have to show up. Attend your library board meetings or school board meetings and don’t let others take away your rights.

Harry Potter
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

6. Don’t judge others’ reading choices

Everyone has a right to read what they want, and some enjoy vampires that sparkle.

Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight

7. Call out the liars

Censors will often use words like “pornography” or “obscenity” to describe books that aren’t. John Green vehemently denies being a pornographer even though his book contains a sex scene. Be like John.

Harry Potter George and Fred
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

8. Write! Share! Comment! Repeat!

Whether you write novels, letters, or tweets, WRITE.

Stephen King's The Shining
Stephen King’s The Shining

9. Sometimes you have to let the crazy pass you by and go with the flow

Adulting is hard. Step 128: Do not engage with crazy*

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

10. Host a party

You don’t really need a good excuse to gather friends and eat food, but Banned Books Week is certainly a great one. Pinterest has a gazillion ideas. A couple of small tweaks would turn this firetruck birthday party into a “don’t burn books” party. And with Halloween coming up, costume shops will have lots of options for a “banned book character” party. Alice, Max or Tango would all be delightful fun.

Author John Green
Author, John Green

11. Don’t forget the decorations

Stephen King's It. Pennywise
Stephen King’s It


“The freedom to read is guaranteed by the Constitution. Those with faith in free people will stand firm on these constitutional guarantees of essential rights and will exercise the responsibilities that accompany these rights.”

The Freedom to Read Statement

Harry Potter flying
J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban


The Lorax
Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax

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