Wanted Read or Alive


Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

Happy Autumn, readers! We’re mid-way through Banned Books Week, so here are some fun ways to get involved. To start, there’s always the Banned Books Week website, where you can find a list of Banned Books Week events by state, participate in the Virtual Read-Out, and find out more information. There are also resources for artists, booksellers, teachers, kids, librarians, teachers, publishers, students, and writers.

If you e-mail a picture of yourself reading your favorite banned book to Random House Library, you’ll be entered to win a Random House Library tote full of banned books. Find out how here or follow them on Twitter. Sharp-eyed readers may recognize my dog reading Bridge to Terabithia on their BBW Pinterest board.

You can download free BBW graphics here if you want to spread the word on your own blog or change your Facebook profile/cover photo to raise awareness. To see where notable challenges/bans have taken place in the US, check out this map.


For some cool art, check out these illustrated mugshots of famous characters from banned books:


If you want to support the ALA and get some BBW swag in the process, check out the ALA store:


Follow me on Twitter at @ShanBarnsley for more Banned Books Week updates. I also have two Pinterest boards devoted to banned books where you can find graphics, posters, reviews, articles, and lists of banned books.



Your local bookstore or library may also events, displays, and information from an actual live person. Of course, you can always host your own BBW party, whether you’re having a girls’ night with the book club, throwing a house party with bookthemed cocktails, or getting some of your friends together at the local book or comic book store.

If you want to get the kids involved and harness their rebellious streak into a love of reading, why not have a BBW-themed slumber party? After all, Captain Underpants, Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and Goosebumps, are all frequently banned books and are best read with a flashlight under the covers. Scary Stories is really meant to be read aloud with friends and s’mores anyway. If a BBW themed party is too bookish for your kids, why not just have a ghost story or camp-themed one, read Goosebumps or Scary Stories anyway, and maybe watch some old Goosebumps or Are You Afraid of the Dark? (This also works for the nostalgic college student or 20-something.) Have your literacy s’more and eat it too.

If you want to have a non-horror-related watchathon at your party or sleepover, all of Wishbone can be found on YouTube. Of course, you didn’t hear that from me. Support PBS. Even if they can’t get their act together and release Wishbone on DVD. Please, PBS? Pleeease? How are we supposed to subliminally influence the next generation into being literature/classics majors without your help?

Enjoy the rest of Banned Books Week, folks! Whether you go full-out and get involved or just curl up at home with a banned book, I hope you’ll celebrate your freedom to read.


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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

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