‘Celebrate’ Banned Books Week with NEA’s Help
Banned Books Week is a week the American Library Association has set aside every year since 1982 to bring awareness to the books and ideas that authorities somewhere in the United States have tried to prevent other people from having access or exposure to in the last year.
The National Education Association is giving special emphasis to Banned Books Week this year, October 1-7, as school boards and other government bodies throughout the United States attempted—often successfully—to remove more than 1,000 titles from the shelves of classrooms, school libraries, and public libraries in the 2022-23 school year. Of those titles, the NEA has found, 37 percent feature characters of color or themes of race and racism, 36 percent feature LGBTQ+ characters or themes, and 34 percent include topics on health and well-being for students.
On NEA.org the union says, “Books are a powerful tool for understanding our similarities and our differences and learning our shared stories of confronting injustice. All students deserve the freedom to read stories as diverse and complex as the society we live in.”
This Banned Books Week, the NEA invites all NEA members to join them “to protect the right of all students, no matter where they live, to access information and materials, including age-appropriate books.”
The NEA’s website offers members customizable bookmarks and other resources to use in and out of the classroom, and suggests other actions we can all take:
1. Read diverse books! Take NEA’s Read Across America Diverse Book Challenge and create opportunities in your community for parents and students to understand and support the value of diverse books for all.
2. Be a voice for the Freedom to Read Learn how to talk about censorship, raise community awareness, and enlist the support of others to put an end to book bans and safeguard democratic freedoms.
3. Pledge Your Support Add your name for free and open access to books for everyone.
4. Register to Vote and Check Your Registration Check out our voter registration tools. The best way to make sure students have the freedom to read is to make our voices heard at the ballot box.