Promotions & Events Celebrate the freedom to listen on Banned Books Week 2015

Sound off on censorship! Join the national literary community from September 27 through October 3, 2015 to celebrate your right to hear powerful stories.

How to Celebrate Banned Books Week

  1. Listen to a banned or challenged audiobook: Choose an audiobook from our featured collection and share our “I Listen to Banned Audiobooks” badge to spread the word about this important celebration.
  2. Request a Censors Beware! FREE CD Sampler: Featuring an interview with Judy Blume and clips from frequently banned books, this sampler will get your community talking about the issue of censorship.
  3. Organize your own Banned Books Week event: Gather together to discuss influential challenged audiobooks or choose an audiobook to listen to together as a community.
  4. Create a banned audiobook display: Encourage patrons to read and listen by creating a display of frequently challenged books. Find ideas for creating a display here.
  5. Participate in the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out: Find out how your community can submit a video and participate in the event here.
  6. Find more suggestions for ways to celebrate on the American Library Association website.
  7. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more Banned Books Week news. Check out #BannedBooksWeek on Twitter for more great content.


Banned Books Week Collection

Click here to view our featured collection of frequently challenged audiobooks, compiled from the American Library Association’s list of challenged books and the list of “Banned Books That Shaped America.” This collection includes celebrated titles such as:

By Rebecca Skloot
Read by Cassandra Campbell & Bahni Turpin

Recently challenged in Tennessee, THE IMMORTAL LIFE OF HENRIETTA LACKS is a fascinating investigation into the exploitation of Henrietta Lacks and her family’s search for the truth decades later. Rich in scientific detail and historical facts, this riveting account is frequently used in classrooms, but was surprisingly challenged for this same reason. Listen to the clip above to hear why Library Journal called it, “Accessible science at its best, the audio version gives the story…all the gravity and pathos it deserves” (starred audio review).

By Roald Dahl
Read by Various

Three of the ALA’s Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the last 30 years, The Witches, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach illustrate the power of storytelling to give children hope and teach them valuable problem-solving skills. Hear these and more beloved stories from this influential children’s author in our Roald Dahl CD collections. You can also request our CD Sampler to get a taste of the gloriumptious fun that awaits your ears in Roald Dahl’s audiobooks.

What is Banned Books Week?
Banned Books Week is an annual awareness campaign that calls attention to banned and challenged books and celebrates freedom of speech. This campaign was launched in 1982, by librarian Judith Krug, former Director of the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, “in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.”

What are challenged books?
A challenge is “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials” from schools and libraries. According to the American Library Association, more than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982.

Why are books challenged?
According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the top three reasons are:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Challenges are usually well-intentioned—often to protect children from “difficult ideas and information.” However, censorship of constitutionally protected speech for any reason violates the First Amendment. Furthermore, some of the most frequently challenged books are widely revered classics. Although they tackle difficult subject matter, these powerful stories are also thought-provoking, inspirational, and expose readers and listeners to worlds outside their own.

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