ABFE Expanding Distribution of Banned Books Week Kits

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Bookstores have been a mainstay of Banned Books Week  for more than 30 years. Each year hundreds of stores join libraries across the country in mounting displays of banned and challenged books.

But there is always room for more. This year, American Booksellers for Free Expression (ABFE) is making it easy for many more ABA member stores to participate in Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3) by sending a display kit in the August Red Box. The kit will be sent to the most active IndieBound stores; stores participating in the Ingram Banned Books Week ordering program; stores that received the kit last year; and, while supplies last, to stores requesting the kit by e-mailing abfe@bookweb.org.

“We hope all ABA members will consider joining this year’s Banned Books Week celebration,” said ABFE Director Chris Finan. “It is wonderful to work with the booksellers who participate every year. But there is nothing more exciting than hearing that a bookstore is mounting its first display!”

The Banned Books Week display kit was created by ABFE and the Ingram Content Group two years ago for stores that placed an order from a list of more than 450 banned and challenged titles on ipage®, Ingram’s search and order content platform. In 2015, Ingram will again offer an additional discount on initial orders of 30 or more books as well as subsequent orders placed from August 31 to October 5.

ABA members ordering from Ingram will receive the Banned Books Week display kit from ABA either by direct mail or in the August Red Box. (For more information about the Ingram program or to place an order, contact your Ingram sales representative; call Ingram Customer Care, (800) 937-8200; or e-mail orders@ingrambook.com.)

The kit includes 25 feet of “Caution” tape, bookmarks, and stickers (“I Read Banned Books” and “I Sell Banned Books”); an easel-back display; a pamphlet describing the titles banned and challenged in 2014-2015; and suggestions for Banned Books Week displays.

This year’s Banned Books Week will be one of the most exciting in many years. The annual celebrations now feature a different category of banned and challenged books each year. The focus on comic books and graphic novels last year produced increased media attention and gave bookstores and libraries an opportunity to create unique displays.

In 2015, Banned Books Week will feature Young Adult books, which dominate the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged titles every year. There were six YA titles in the top 10 in 2014–2015, a year that saw efforts to censor books written by Sherman Alexie, Stephen Chbosky, Chris Crutcher, Emily M. Danforth, Barthe DeClements, Cory Doctorow, John Green, Ellen Hopkins, David Levithan, Stephanie Meyer, Jodi Picoult, Marjane Satrapi, and Raina Telgemeier.

While most challenges fail, too many succeed: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian was pulled from a high school supplemental reading list in Meridian, Idaho; The Miseducation of Cameron Post from the summer reading list in the Cape Henlopen, Delaware, schools. The Fault in Our Stars was taken off library shelves in a middle school in Rancho Cucamonga, California, and eighth graders were not permitted to read Paper Towns in Wesley Chapel, Florida.

One of the principal events of this year’s Banned Books Week will be a September 29 program at the Housing Works Bookstore Café in New York, which will feature two bestselling YA authors, Stephen Chbosky and David Levithan. Chbosky’s novel, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, has been on the ALA’s top 10 list frequently since it was published in 1999. Levithan’s Two Boys Kissing was challenged unsuccessfully this year in a high school library in Fauquier County, Virginia.

ABA member stores should check their August Red Box for a large envelope clearly marked “Banned Books Week Display Kit” before e-mailing ABFE to request one.