Banned Books Week takes place every year during the last week of September as a way to spotlight controversial books. At the Hazard Branch Library in Onondaga County they are celebrating by having a scavenger hunt for kids. The kids are tasked with finding all ten banned books that are hidden throughout the library and identifying the reason why they were banned. Those who can complete the tasked are then given a prize.
The top challenged books deal with LGBT content, sex education, violence, and mental health. The number one book on the list is 13 Reasons Why, which focuses on the decision behind the lead characters decision to commit suicide.
Ava Sandford has watched the popular Netflix series, but hasn’t read the book.
“It’s a great way to start the conversation about stuff,” Sandford said, “it’s hard to start talking about uncomfortable topics like that.”
The scavenger hunt serves as a way to engage children with some of the more controversial topics in literature.
“The involvement is good I think,” said library patron Charlie Guenther, “I think it’s a creative way to do it.”
The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom had more than 350 challenges to school, library, and university materials in 2017. The list of the top ten banned books according to the association is below:
- Thirteen Reasons Why written by Jay Asher
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian written by Sherman Alexie
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
- The Kite Runner written by Khaled Hosseini
- George written by Alex Gino
- Sex is a Funny Word written by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smyth
- To Kill a Mockingbird written by Harper Lee
- The Hate U Give written by Angie Thomas
- And Tango Makes Three written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas