New York City

NYC Libraries Fight Banned Books Movement With New Reading Challenge


In a "stand against censorship," New York City's libraries have started a reading challenge featuring books banned at other institutions across the country.

The Banned Books Challenge features 10 books selected by librarians with the hope of combatting the growing trend to ban books by highlighting the stories of identities and perspectives most threatened by this form censorship.

The city's libraries aim to "make a statement against censorship and organized efforts to erase identities, and to connect New Yorkers with a book that they will not only enjoy, but can help develop understanding and empathy— the tools needed to fight ignorance and hate."

The Banned Books Challenge runs for a month -- from May 23 to June 26 -- during Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month and LGBTQ Pride Month. The libraries point out the books targeted for censorship often focus on race, LGBTQ+ issues, religion and history.  

"Last Night at the Telegraph Club," a popular young adult title and 2021 National Book Award winner, will be available to read via free e-reader apps through the end of the challenge.

Additional physical copies of the 10 books selected for the challenge will be made available throughout the library systems. Some branches will also hold book discussions for teens.

Here's the list of 10 books:

  • "The Marrow Thieves" by Cherie Dimaline
  • "Will Grayson, Will Grayson" by John Green & David Levithan
  • "Being Jazz" by Jazz Jennings
  • "All Boys Aren’t Blue" by George M. Johnson
  • "Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You" by Ibram X. Kendi & Jason Reynolds
  • "Last Night at the Telegraph Club" by Malinda Lo
  • "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
  • "1984" by George Orwell
  • "Out of Darkness" by Ashley Hope Pérez
  • "This One Summer" by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki

More information can be found at the New York Public Library website.

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