Every year, the American Library Association releases a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of the previous year. This year, I am setting a personal goal to read all 10 of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020, and I'd like to invite you to join me.
Censorship vs Intellectual Freedom
I firmly believe that intellectual freedom is incredibly important. In short, what this means is that everyone is entitled to seek out and receive information from all points of view, without restriction. Intellectual freedom fosters critical thought and broadens horizons. Being exposed to ideas, arguments, and stories from perspectives different to our own is an important part of learning to think critically about our own beliefs and opinions: doing so can help us grow and change for the better; or can help us solidify, better understand, and better articulate our own opinions.
It's especially important, I'd argue, to remember that censorship tends to be an oppressive way that those in power suppress the stories and experience of those who are not in power--often minorities who face oppression in other ways within society. Taking a look at the reasons cited to request books be removed from spaces such as public libraries and schools last year makes this point pretty clear. In a year in which the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities in America were actively fighting for their rights and their very lives, and in which the country had been steeped in a 'fake news' narrative, we see that people were trying to remove access to books because they represented different political, social, or religious viewpoints, and that the larger number of censorship requests came from the side in established power.
Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020
So, which books, then, are on the ALA Top 10 Most Challenged list for 2020, and why?
My challenge to myself:
Elizabeth Wilcox. Writer, Avid Role-Player, Amateur Mixologist. Survivor.