Freedom to Read Week

Mount Prospect Public Library is here to help you celebrate your freedom to read by presenting specialty programming and sharing activities and resources about intellectual freedom. This week is about appreciating our freedom to seek and express ideas, and the importance of everyone having access to a diversity of viewpoints. The library’s celebration is in conjunction with the American Library Association (ALA) annual Banned Books Week, which spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. ALA’s week-long, nationwide event brings people together in support of free and open access to books and information. 

Library Events

  • City Lit Theater Company Presents Books on the Chopping Block
  • Enjoy a virtual presentation of dramatic readings from ALA’s list of the top 10 most challenged books from 2019. There will also be time for Q & A following the presentation. 
  • Thursday, October 1, 7-8 p.m. on Zoom
  • Freedom to Read Book Club
  • For grades 3-6. What are YOUR favorite books? Celebrate Freedom to Read Week with fun games and book sharing. We will also discuss the importance of access to books and your right to make your own reading choices.
  • Thursday, October 1, 4:30-5 p.m.
  • Click to register.

Guess the Book

Banning books gives us silence when we need speech. It closes our ears when we need to listen. It makes us blind when we need sight.”  

Stephen Chbosky

Stephen Chbosky, author of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which is listed number ten on the list of 100 most banned books from the early 2000s, according to the American Library Association.

Can you figure out these other banned or challenged books from their quotes? Click on the quote to reveal the answer and then find e-books, movies, and more available to check out!

“Freeing yourself was one thing, claiming ownership of that freed self was another.”
“For you, a thousand times over.”
“When you spend your whole life living in a hole, the only way you can go is up.”
“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?”
“Imagination, of course, can open any door – turn the key and let terror walk right in.”
“Oh, please don’t go – we’ll eat you up – we love you so!”
“Destroying things is much easier than making them.”
“All’s well that ends better.”
“But it’s the truth even if it didn’t happen.”
“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.”
“If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.”
“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.”

Printable Activities

Learn More

  • Banned Books 101
"Had I had a book like that on the shelf, I might have realized a lot sooner that I could love myself.  I might have realized a lot sooner that it's O.K. to feel different." - community member on keeping "Prince & Knight" on a public library's shelves
607 Total materials affected in censorship attempts in 2019.
+14% Increase from last year.
What is a Challenge? An attempt to remove or restrict materials or services based on content.
What is a Ban? The removal of materials or cancellation of services based on content.

Top 10 Challenged Books of 2019

The American Library Association tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019. Overall, 566 books were targeted. Here are the “Top 10 Most Challenged Books in 2019,” along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:

george book cover

1. George by Alex Gino

Challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy; for LGBTQIA+ content and a transgender character; because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion”; for sexual references; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint and “traditional family structure.”

Beyond Magenta book cover

2. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content, for “its effect on any young people who would read it,” and for concerns that it was sexually explicit and biased.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo book cover

3. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller

Challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is “designed to pollute the morals of its readers,” and for not including a content warning.

Sex is a Funny Word book cover

4. Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg, illustrated by Fiona Smyth

Challenged, banned, and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content; for discussing gender identity and sex education; and for concerns that the title and illustrations were “inappropriate.”

Prince & Knight book cover

5. Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack, illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Challenged and restricted for featuring a gay marriage and LGBTQIA+ content; for being “a deliberate attempt to indoctrinate young children” with the potential to cause confusion, curiosity, and gender dysphoria; and for conflicting with a religious viewpoint.

I Am Jazz book cover

6. I Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas

Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content, for a transgender character, and for confronting a topic that is “sensitive, controversial, and politically charged.”

The Handmaid's Tale book cover

7. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Banned and challenged for profanity and for “vulgarity and sexual overtones.”

Drama book cover

8. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier

Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for concerns that it goes against “family values/morals.”

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone book cover

9. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Banned and forbidden from discussion for referring to magic and witchcraft, for containing actual curses and spells, and for characters that use “nefarious means” to attain goals.

And Tango Makes Three book cover

10. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, illustrated by Henry Cole

Challenged and relocated for LGBTQIA+ content.