Forbidden Books
In a press release, the American Library Association reports that the number of books challenged has increased by 20 percent since 2022

The 2023 Banned Books Week will take place from October 1 to 7, and its theme this year is "Let Freedom Read." This annual event will bring together the entire book community from librarians, teachers, booksellers and readers of all types in an effort to fight censorship. The books featured during Banned Books Week have all been targeted for removal or restriction in libraries and schools.

Books are still being banned and challenged today. According to the American Library Association (ALA), a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.

In a press release, ALA reports that the number of books challenged has increased by 20 percent since 2022, the year in which the highest number of book challenges occurred since ALA began compiling this data more than 20 years ago. Most of the challenges were to books written by or about a person of color or a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

In commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month, The Latin Times lists five books from Hispanic or Latino authors that have been banned or challenged.

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Having sold over 6 million copies and been translated into 20 languages, The House on Mango Street remains a classic coming-of-age novel and is a staple piece of literature for many young adults who've read it as part of their middle school or high school curriculum. Structured as a series of vignettes, it tells the story of Esperanza Cordero, a Mexican American girl growing up in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago. Based in part on Cisneros's own experience, the novel follows Esperanza as she enters adolescence and begins to face the realities of life as a young woman in a poor and patriarchal community. The novel deals with a sensitive subject matters, such as domestic violence, sexual abuse, and racism, that has led to the book being banned and challenged with censorship.

How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accent by Julia Álvarez

A book about four sisters Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia who were forced to leave their life in the Dominican Republic behind after their father's role in an attempt to overthrow dictator Rafael Trujillo is discovered. They arrived in New York City in 1960 to find a life far different than what they were used to. They yearn for the sense of belonging in their new lives in the United States. their parents try to hold on to their old ways as the girls try to assimilate into their new lives: by straightening their hair and wearing American fashions, and by forgetting their Spanish. At a young age they struggle to find their cultural identity.

The book was challenged for including sexual content. A district committee voted to remove the book from Johnston County, North Caroline schools.

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Set in rural New Mexico in the 1940s, the novel tells the story of a boy who, with the help of a curandera (spiritual healer) navigates the cultural, religious, and moral contradictions he faces in his community. Reported reasons for banning the book range from alleged offensive language, talk of the occult or Satanism, affronts to organized religion and sexually explicit content.

Bless Me, Ultima has appeared on the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom's list of Top 10 Most Challenged Books multiple years — most recently in 2008 and 2013. The book was notably burned in 1981 by the Bloomfield School Board of northwestern New Mexico due to what board members found to be offensive Spanish profanity.

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

House of the Spirits tells the story of the triumphs and tragedies of three generations of the Trueba family with a touch of magic realism. According to Allende, the book was inspired by a letter she wrote to her dying grandfather recounting the stories he told her, memories from her childhood, and her own political involvement leading to her exile from Chile.

In 2013, it was challenged by several parents at a North Carolina high school who raised formal complaints to the school board regarding the book being a part of the English curriculum as it was too graphic and violent.

Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Pérez

Out of Darkness is a historical young adult novel published in 2015. It tells the love story between a teenage Mexican-American girl and a teenage African-American boy in 1930s in New London, Texas and touches on the topics of segregation, family and more. Ashley Hope Pérez takes into account the historical event of 1937 New London school explosion. A natural gas leak caused the death of more than 300 students and teachers.

This book has been banned and challenged for its depictions of abuse and is considered sexually explicit. The book is listed in 9th place of the top 10 challenged books of 2022.

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