The 2016 Banned Books Week ends on Friday but it's never too late to celebrate the freedom to read.
The annual event is promoted by the American Library Association and other organizations. Each year the association releases a list of the top 10 most challenged books across the country. These titles are based on the frequency a book has been challenged or removed from libraries or schools in the US.
The most challenged books of 2015 included:
"Looking for Alaska," by John Green
"Fifty Shades of Grey," by E.L. James
"I am Jazz," by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
"Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out," by Susan Kuklin
"The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time," by Mark Haddon
"The Holy Bible"
"Fun Home," by Alison Bechdel
"Habibi," by Craig Thompson
"Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan," by Jeanette Winter
"Two Boy’s Kissing," by David Levithan
The titles of this year’s list were flagged for reasons such as: sexually explicit material, homosexuality, sex education, nudity, violence and religious viewpoint.
“We’re seeing more and more challenges to diverse content, such books about people of color or the LGBT community,” said Deborah Caldwell Stone, deputy director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. “It reflects concerns of changes in our society.”
The top 10 lists have been published by the American Library Association for the last 15 years.
The first list, in 2001, was topped by JK Rowling’s Harry Potter for “satanism, religious viewpoint, anti-family and violence.”
From 2000 to 2009, the top five categories that caused a book to be challenged or banned included: sexually explicit material, offensive language, being considered unsuited for the age group, violence or homosexuality.
Banned Books Week began in 1982 as a response to what the group said was a drastic increase of challenges to, and removal of, books in libraries, schools and bookstores. According to the American Library Association, more than 11,300 books have been challenged in the 34 years since Banned Books Week’s inception.
Although some texts have been banned, Banned Books Week is also a celebration of the "banned" titles that continue to be made available.
“Banned Books Week celebrates one of our great freedoms -- to read,” Stone said. “It is a freedom that is still threatened by censorship. Banned Books Week is a way of remembering that we have this great freedom.”