September 24-30 marks the annual celebration of your right to read! The American Library Association advocates intellectual through this event called Banned Books Week. Banned Books Week “highlights the value of free and open access to information.”1 Every year, the presence of specific books are challenged in libraries and schools across the country because of their content, philosophy, or social implications. Removing these books from libraries denies access to other patrons. Behind the principles of free speech and intellectual freedom is the truth that you can’t make an informed decision without access to the information. Celebrating access to that information and the patron’s right to choose their reading material are what Banned Books Week is all about.

Words have power. Which words will you choose?

For more information on Banned Books Week, check out Of the ALA’s ten most frequently challenged books of 2016, these four books are available at the John Tyler Libraries.

This One SummerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki & Jillian Tamaki
#1 Challenged Book in 2016
Midlothian Graphic Novel Collection: PN6727 .T363 T55 2014


Every summer, Rose goes with her mom and dad to a lake house in Awago Beach. It’s their getaway, their refuge. Rosie’s friend Windy is always there, too, like the little sister she never had. But this summer is different. Rose’s mom and dad won’t stop fighting, and when Rose and Windy seek a distraction from the drama, they find themselves with a whole new set of problems. It’s a summer of secrets and sorrow and growing up, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other.

In This One Summer two stellar creators redefine the teen graphic novel. Cousins Mariko and Jillian Tamaki, the team behind Skim, have collaborated on this gorgeous, heartbreaking, and ultimately hopeful story about a girl on the cusp of her teen age — a story of renewal and revelation.


GeorgeGeorge by Alex Gino
#3 Challenged Book in 2016
Chester PZ7.1 .G566 Geo 2015


BE WHO YOU ARE. When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she’s not a boy. She knows she’s a girl.

George thinks she’ll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte’s Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can’t even try out for the part. . . because she’s a boy.

With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte – but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.


Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green
#6 Challenged Book in 2016
Chester Popular Reading


Before. Miles “Pudge” Halter is done with his safe life at home. His whole life has been one big non-event, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave “the Great Perhaps” even more (Francois Rabelais, poet). He heads off to the sometimes crazy and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young. She is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart. Then. . . .
After. Nothing is ever the same.


Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
#10 Challenged Book in 2016
Midlothian Popular Reading & Audiobook Available Online


Two misfits.
One extraordinary love.

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.


Has a challenged or banned book impacted your life? Tell us about it in the comments below.



1 “Banned Books Week 2017: Sept. 24 – 30.” American Library Association, 2017,

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