Black and white photo of author Shel Silverstein

Happy Birthday, Shel Silverstein!

Silverstein’s children’s poetry is known for its fantastical humor and thoughtful lessons. His words often make the reader laugh out loud, and sometimes even cry. With such a beloved reputation, you would think there’s no way Silverstein also had a reputation for banned books. However, he is a frequently banned and challenged author, and his book, A Light in the Attic comes in at number 51 on the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books List, 1990-1999.

Author Alison Bechdel is pictured on a navy blue background with geometric shape next to her photo on the left side of the image. The right side of the image reads: Happy Birthday Alison Bechdel

Happy Birthday, Alison Bechdel!

Bechdel is most known for penning the graphic memoir Fun Home, which was later adapted into a Tony-winning Broadway Musical, and her comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, which ran for 25 year in print and was later published online. Bechdel’s debut graphic novel, Fun Home, was published in 2006 and is about her relationship with her closeted father and her own journey with her sexuality. This year Bechdel reenters the graphic novel scene after nearly a decade away with The Secret to Superhuman Strength.

Photo of John Green on a stage, smiling and giving a thumbs up to the audience.

Happy Birthday, John Green!

I first encountered Green’s books after I took a course on children’s literature in graduate school in 2012. One of the final sections of the class featured banned and challenged books, and I selected Looking for Alaska, not knowing anything about Green or his books. I really enjoyed the novel, and though I hadn’t attended a boarding school like Miles and Alaska, felt a sense of understanding at Miles’ awkward and anxious high school experiences. I recall reading it and thinking, Okay, so what’s wrong with it?!