Books save us -- from boredom, anxiety and all too often, from making awkward eye contact with people on the subway (which is a seriously underrated benefit, in my opinion). Sometimes, though, books are the ones that need saving.
A recent update from the American Library Association brings some unnerving news for lit lovers: The 2014 Top Ten List of Frequently Challenged Books is in, and it includes a shelf full of beloved fan-favorites like "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky, "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison and Marjane Satrapi's "Persepolis."
But why do these books take so much heat if the complaints like "sex education," "political viewpoint" and "offensive language" are all things that teens and adults are exposed to every day, IRL? For answers, MTV News spoke to Barbara Jones, Director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom at American Library Association.
Here's the bottom line: If your school is trying to pull any of these books, or whatever your fave is, don't be discouraged -- there's lots you can do to peacefully and positively fight back:
Organize A 'Read-In' At A Local Library Or Bookstore
Get some of your friends, faculty and lit-loving community members together and take turns reading passages from the list of potentially banned books. Reach out for this one -- try to get local press and bloggers to write about it and spread the word!
Attend Your School's Board Of Ed Meetings
"The list always includes some of the books that people tell us are their favorite books," Jones told us. "[It] reflects to me the belief by adults that somehow they can control the experience of young people and young adults in society. Young people look at this and say, 'But who do they think we are anyway -- do they think we are naïve?' "
Show them you're not naive. Get educated and totally school your Board of Ed. Find a passionate, articulate group of students who want their voices to be heard. Together, write an eloquent, intelligent appeal to your school explaining why your favorite books are important for future generations to learn from. Then, find your school's Board of Education schedule and present your case. (You got this!)
Get Your English And Literature Teachers InvolvedGetty Images
Literary crusaders have to stick together! Talk to your biggest bookworm teachers and ask if they'd support your idea to keep your favorite books on shelves. They could sign a petition or maybe even accompany you at a Board of Education meeting.
Start A Hashtag
Twitter's the modern town hall, right? Start an online campaign with your classmates that allows people from your community (and beyond) to join in the conversation happening in your community. Nanette Perez of the American Library Association suggests taking a look at the #fREADom2READ campaign on Twitter, where you can post a pic of the book you're reading and celebrate it with the world.
Take To The Hallways
Don't feel like you're in this alone -- feel free to reach out to the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom for more resources. "Our office remains ready to assist students to try and keep books on the shelf and to also help organize themselves," Jones said.