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Publishers Support Banned Books Week 2016 with Events, Outreach and Activities

Banning books by diverse authors or books dealing with people or situations that are unfamiliar or strange to the majority of Americans creates fear rather than promoting understanding.
Judith Platt, AAP Director of Free Expression Advocacy

Washington, DC; September 22, 2016 – The Association of American Publishers (AAP) and our members are supporting the 34th annual Banned Books Week (#BannedBooksWeek), taking place Sept. 25 – Oct. 1. During this year’s celebration of Banned Books Week, publishers will thematically explore why diverse books are among the most frequently banned.

It is estimated that over half of all banned books are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities, according to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. Click here to see a slideshow of some of the most frequently banned books.

The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of organizations joined by a commitment to increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read. As a founding member of Banned Books Week, AAP continually works to advocate for the freedom of expression by combatting censorship in collaboration with other sponsor organizations representing booksellers, libraries, teachers, publishers, authors, journalists, college bookstores and anti-censorship groups.

“Banning books by diverse authors or books dealing with people or situations that are unfamiliar or strange to the majority of Americans creates fear rather than promoting understanding. Young people especially need books that shed light on a diversity of experience, background, culture, gender, and religion. Books that feature people of color, people with disabilities and people seeking answers to questions about gender identity create opportunities for learning and openness. This is the only way we can ever hope to stop being ‘them and us’ and become ‘we’,” said Judith Platt, AAP’s Director of Free Expression Advocacy.

Led by Penguin Random House and supported by Hachette Book Group, our member publishers, companies and organizations will be celebrating online and in person throughout the week. Discussions online and in person, author appearances, and free giveaways will take place in libraries, schools, bookstores and other community settings across the nation. See below to learn more about upcoming interactive and community building events aimed at engaging readers and promoting the right to read:

  • Hachette Book Group is celebrating the week with a social shareable graphic campaign spearheaded by NOVL, Little Brown Books for Young Readers’ teen reading community. The campaign will use NOVL's social media channels: thenovl.com, TwitterFacebook, Instagram, and Hachette’s imprint and corporate social accounts.
  • Bloomsbury will be using the #BannedBooksWeek hashtag on their Twitter and Tumblr channels to promote and encourage discussions on advocacy for all readers.
  • HarperCollins Children’s Books social channels (including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter) will have special content including quizzes, round-up of Harper banned books, banned book search page on HarperCollins.com, and special graphics and trailer for I AM A STORY by Dan Yaccarino. Epic Reads will also support Banned Book Week with banned book-themed posts.
  • SAGE Publishing teamed up with the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom and the Banned Books Week Publisher’s Task Force to run the 3rd annual Banned Books Readout Booth at the ALA Annual Conference in Orlando, FL in June. Find the readings and explanations about the importance of freedom to read from more than 200 conference attendees here.
  • Scholastic will highlight, through its vast network of social media channels - including Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook - some of its most prominent books that have been challenged. Scholastic's On Our Minds blog  will feature a slideshow of book covers and will share related content on the various Scholastic social media accounts.
  • Simon & Schuster has a dedicated landing page where readers can participate in a sweepstakes to win a collection of banned books, or browse through a special catalog of banned books. There’s also a series of Facebook Live events planned with banned and challenged authors. Stop by their Rockefeller Center office to see the Banned Books Week display in the lobby, or participate in the conversation using #SSBannedBooks.
  • Sourcebooks will be doing flash giveaways through their social media channels of THIS BOOK IS GAY by Juno (James) Dawson, a YA nonfiction book that has recently been challenged. Find them on Instagram, Twitter, and Tumblr and participate in the conversation.
  • Workman will be discussing Banned Books Week on their library marketing blog, www.bibliofiles.com, highlighting their titles that have been removed from school curricula.
  • Many publishers are using the #BannedBooksWeek hashtag and their social channels to promote and encourage discussions on advocacy for all readers, including Bloomsbury.

On Sept. 27, bookstores around the country will celebrate with events. Housing Works in New York City will host popular YA authors, including Daniel José Older of the Bone Street Rumba urban fantasy series and Taran Matharu of the Summoner series, will read their works celebrating diversity. Other events will take place at Skylight Books (Los Angeles); Book Cellar (Chicago); Politics & Prose Bookstore (Washington DC); Tattered Cover Book Store (Denver); Powell's Books, Inc. (PDX); and Books & Books (Miami).

On Sept. 29, SAGE Publishing and the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom will host the webinar Battling Bannings: Authors discuss intellectual freedom and the freedom to read at 11 a.m. ET. Several authors will discuss what it’s like to have their titles banned and what effective responses might be, including: Jessica Herthel, a co-author of I Am Jazz, a children’s picture book about a transgender girl; Christine Baldacchino, the author of the widely-acclaimed book Morris Micklewhite and the Tangerine Dress; Wendy Doniger author of The Hindus: An Alternative History and On Hinduism, which portrays the history of Hinduism outside of mainstream perspectives. Register here.

Media Contact

Marisa Bluestone / mbluestone@publishers.org / {202} 220-4558

About AAP

The Association of American Publishers (AAP) is the voice of the US book and journal publishing industry. AAP represents the industry’s priorities on policy, legislative and regulatory issues regionally, nationally and worldwide. These include the protection of intellectual property rights and worldwide copyright enforcement, digital and new technology issues, funding for education and libraries, tax and trade, censorship and literacy. Our four hundred member companies represent major commercial, educational and professional companies as well as independents, non-profits, university presses and scholarly societies.

AAP is active in freedom of expression regionally, nationally and globally. Its Freedom to Read Committee serves as the publishing industry’s watchdog on a wide-ranging slate of free speech-related issues and its International Freedom to Publish group works to support challenged authors and publishers internationally. Recognized as a passionate advocate for the First Amendment, AAP has participated as plaintiff or friend-of-the-court in free speech cases for more than four decades. AAP produces anti-censorship educational programs for librarians, booksellers and authors.

Find us online at www.publishers.org or on twitter at @AmericanPublish.