On the Banning of Looking for Alaska

On the Banning of Looking for Alaska

In which John discusses the American Library Association’s recent announcement that his book “Looking for Alaska” was the most challenged book in the U.S. in 2015, responds to those who try to get the book removed from schools and libraries, and discusses the role of teachers and librarians in American life.

You can find the list of the 10 most challenged books in the U.S. here: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

Thanks to the American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom, and to all the courageous librarians and teachers out there who stand up for intellectual freedom and banned books.

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20 Responses

  1. WeiYinChan says:

    Oh and look at all those books challenged for “homosexuality”.

    “And Tango Makes Three” was challenged for that and “anti-family” and
    “religious viewpoint” (there was no religious viewpoints)

    Seriously, it’s 2016

  2. AndImTheBlondie says:

    What?!?! Looking for Alaska is one of my all time favorite books, I read it
    before TFIOS was even published, it was so important to me!

  3. James O'Neill says:

    I read looking for alaska for reading olympics, and it was great but I
    wasn’t sure who to tell about it, but then one day while going home on the
    bus with my friends I was reading it and one of them almost squealed
    (friends with alot of girls) and we all started talking about how much we
    like the book. Then later during our competition when we had to check which
    books we read, me and a group of people basically talked about the book for
    a hour and how it was one of the best books that year of the 45. It was
    really weird how many people really liked the book and I hadn’t met one
    person that didn’t like it or didn’t finish it. I think it was a great read
    and definitely going to recommend it to people this year when I start

  4. Valloitaja723 says:

    In my personal opinion any and all censorship should be avoided at all
    times. If a kid wants to read The Communist Manufesto, Mein Kamphf, or any
    taboo/ strange book they should be allowed to. Censoring them only creates
    more interest and it makes the people that ban them look like they’re
    hiding the truth/something they shouldn’t know even if they aren’t. It
    would also give a window into the mind of the author which most people
    would never get to see. Perhaps we wouldn’t make the same mistakes over and
    over if we just reflected on what batshit crazy people thought and try to
    avoid the mindset they had.

  5. Victoria Herondale says:

    Treasury secretary Washington’s the president…..

  6. thatnerd1999 says:

    “And write musicals about treasury secretaries…” I see you John.

  7. lol who's Patrick Stump? ? says:

    It’s weird that they banned Looking For Alaska, but not books like The
    Perks Of Being a Wallflower. Not that The Perks Of Being a Wallflower
    should be banned, I love it, but it’s just strange.

  8. Vienna Vance says:

    My grandparents moved to a 65+ neighborhood in a state they don’t like,
    simply because they don’t want to pay for education. Their entire lifestyle
    changes because of their greed. Also because of gr8 Sheriff Joe!!!1!

  9. ulysisxtr says:

    I can’t agree more.. Why don’t the teachers teach them what the things mean
    and parents do their job in teaching at home?

  10. Maribeth Kern says:

    Hamilton reference??

  11. Daniel Li says:

    Just because someone reads the Communist Manifesto, doesn’t mean that they
    will become a communist. People who want to censor Looking for Alaska
    simply don’t understand the meaning.

  12. breilly golding says:


  13. Richard Helger says:

    thnx for shere the list of my next “to read” books xD

  14. David Lindner says:

    Who is Hank

  15. rubymimosa says:

    I graduated high school at 15yrs old, already had one of my AA’s. I was a
    college acquisitions librarian. And a college sexuality counselor. Parents
    are scared of the wrong things. Knowledge empowers.
    When my son was 15yrs old and considering sex with his then girlfriend (now
    fiancé 7 years later) he told me; because I worked hard to make sure he
    could. I sat with both of them, put my counselor face on and spoke with
    them. I pulled out The Joy of Sex among other titles, and went over
    anatomy, consent, and communication. Spoke honestly, and without judgement,
    answered their questions, gave them the book and condoms. When they were
    ready for sexual intercourse my son went with her and her mom to the doctor.
    Without knowledge teens can’t make informed choices. Lack of guidance is
    what puts them in danger.
    Perhaps instead of banning books they should read with them.

  16. Emma Kristjanson-Gural says:

    Wow, this is really beautifully said. Way to go John :)

  17. Genny1717 says:

    So many incredible points are made in this video

  18. Nilah Monai' says:

    Well I’ve already bought the book and read it a million times so I’m okay.

  19. MoltenSword says:

    Teachers are criminally paid? No, there’s no crime or wrongdoing here. Just
    what’s simply called a surplus in economics. And what happens when there is
    a surplus for it? The price goes down. And so does the demand.

  20. Jayde Summers says:

    I really believe that some people are so focused on being politically
    correct and screaming with flames bursting from their ears “WOULD SOMEONE
    PLEASE THINK OF THE CHILDREN?!” that they can’t take the time to read an
    entire book to truly judge the merit of the challenge. I also apologize
    for my terrible grammar. ._.