Guest Post: Lauren Carlton on Banned Books Week

Posted on October 5, 2020


Dear Reader,

I am excited to introduce you to today’s featured guest writer, Lauren Carlton, who has something to say about reading banned books.


As September comes to a close each year, I get excited for many things. The changing color of leaves, the exorbitant amounts of apple cider, and the annual event, Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week (September 27 – October 3, 2020) is a week that brings awareness to the censorship of books, primarily in schools. The American Library Association released a list of The 100 Most Banned Books: 2010-2019.

What’s shocking about this list is not only what books are on it, but why they are on it. Most of these books have been banned because they contain an LGBTQ character, references to mental illness, violence, a religious viewpoint, racism, or even sex education. 

Some may see these as “inappropriate” or “tough” topics to discuss in schools, but these are all issues that affect many students every day. Instead of silencing a story because it could cause discomfort, we need to share these stories. Too often, only one side of a story is told and the materials given to youth are censored. Instead, we should be encouraging children to read as much as they can and as much diverse content as they can. Adults, too: I invite Citizen Teacher readers to challenge yourself to read one of the books from this list above. 

During my final semester of college, I wrote an article for The Columbia Chronicle about the censorship of queer literature, where I stated, “queer stories are valid stories, just as queer history is valid history.” I’d like to expand on that statement and say that all minority stories are valid stories. Black, brown, Indigenous and stories from people of color are valid stories. Women’s stories are valid stories. All of these stories are valid history.

I will be the first to admit it’s easy to get comfortable in many areas of life, including the media we consume,  but the things I’ve learned from reading stories by diverse authors have opened my eyes and heart in ways I can’t describe. 

People often look for ways to be a good ally to minority communities, and I believe having a willingness to learn and listening to–or reading–their stories is the perfect place to start.

Lauren’s Bio

When I was a student at Adrian High School from 2013-2015, I took a variety of classes with ms. eddy including IB English and Mythology. ms. eddy challenged me to read books that I never would’ve decided to pick up on my own, and I’m so glad she did. 

I graduated from Columbia College Chicago in 2019 with a degree in Communications/Theatre. I currently work as a Program Coordinator for The Association of College and Research Librarians, a division of The American Library Association. 

lisa eddy is a writer-for-hire, researcher, educator-for-hire, youth advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy
On email: