Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard: Hunting Free Banned Books This Week

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CHATHAM, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — Local bookstores across Cape Cod and Martha's Vineyard have hidden banned books for the public to find, as a part of this year's Banned Books Week taking place until September 24.

The theme of this year's Banned Books Week is "Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us." The Cape and Islands Banned Book Hunt organizers are hosting the "treasure hunt," placing free copies of banned books at local landmarks and popular outdoor areas for the public to find. The hunt is sponsored by local bookstores such as Yellow Umbrella Books, Where The Sidewalk Ends BookStore, Titcomb's Bookshop, Sea Howl Book Shop, Edgartown Books, Brewster Book Store, and Belonging Books.

Some books included in this year's event are "Gender Queer" by Maia Kobabe, "The Hate You Give" by Angie Thomas, "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie, and "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison. The books were on the Top Ten Challenged Book List of 2021 after being banned and restricted in libraries, schools, and bookstores around the country for a variety of content some considered to be explicit.

"Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular," the Banned Books Week Coordinator wrote on the event website.

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This year is the 40th annual Banned Books Week. The event celebrates the freedom to read and brings awareness to book censorship. The week-long event was launched in 1982 in response to a surge in challenges to get certain books in schools and libraries, according to the official website.

On Monday, youth activists from around the country will be speaking virtually about censorship in schools as a part of the event.

Brooke McCarthy (BrookeWBZ) has more:

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