Every year, the American Library Association dedicates one week to examine the increasing rise in book bans in schools, higher education and libraries. This year, October 1-7 is Banned Book Week and it aims to raise awareness for censorship at the national level as well as to champion the importance of having the freedom to choose.

According to the American Library Association, in 2023 there have been 645 attempts to censor 1,915 library materials which is up 20 percent from 2022. PENAmerica recorded 3,362 challenges in the 2022-2023 school year, up 33 percent. 

We have asked some of our team members to list the books we think people should have on their TBR. 

The Complete Maus by Art Spiegelman. Maus is a two volume graphic novel that Art began working on  as a comic strip in the late 70s. The story centers around Art’s parents before, during and after World War II.  This is a moving story between Art and his father Vladek as Art gets his father to talk with him about his life during the Holocaust. The graphic novel also uses animals instead of humans so that Speigelman can go more indepth with the events that happened and the aftermath it caused. 

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This grpahic memoir begins with Marjane’s childhood during the Islamic Revolution. Told through beatutifully drawn black and white comic strips she interves Iran’s tumultous times as well as her own daily life. The sotry has a great balance of the history of Iran, which is often overlook and to Satrapi’s narrative. 

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo. Two friends Lily and Kath find themselves falling in love at the Telegraph Club. Set during the red scare in the Bay area, the girls make their way to discover themselves and what is important to them. Lo’s slow pace romance story of Lily and Kath is beautiful and realistic highlighting the tension of Lily’s family in 1954 Chinatown.

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M Johnson

All branches of the North Bergen Library will be closed on Sunday, March 26th and Monday, March 27th. The Guttenberg Resource Center will close at 2 pm on Friday, May 24th.