City Lit Theater announces titles for 2018 Books On The Chopping Block

From 2016 Festival, L-R: Jim Morley, Donna Ray, Katy Nielsen and Gordy Andina (photo courtesy of John Olson Communications)
From 2016 Festival, L-R: Jim Morley, Donna Ray, Katy Nielsen and Gordy Andina (photo courtesy of John Olson Communications)

CHICAGO — City Lit Theater Company is working with the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office of Intellectual Freedom, to present Books On The Chopping Block, a celebration of Banned Book Week, September 23 – 29, 2018, at various locations in and around Chicago.

According to a press release from City Lit, every year since 1982 the American Library Association has released a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books as reported to their Office of Intellectual Freedom. Banned Books Week, held during the last week of September, features those books. The week celebrates the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment.

City Lit Theater’s Books On The Chopping Block is a 50-minute program consisting of five-minute readings of short excerpts from the top ten challenged books of 2017. Each book is introduced with background on the book, including the reason it got challenged. The readings are followed by an audience discussion. City Lit Theater will present the 2018 Books On The Chopping Block at nine different libraries in the Chicago area: six Chicago Public Library branches, the DePaul University Library in Lincoln Park, the Evanston Public Library, the Mt. Prospect Public Library and the Lincolnwood Public Library.

City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe believes that Books On The Chopping Block celebrates the books most at risk and call attention to the would-be censor’s threat to an educated democracy.

“Our focus is literate theater, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people,” McCabe said in the press release. “We are privileged to continue our alliance with the ALA in this important work.”

Funding for Books On The Chopping Block is provided by the Seabury Foundation and the Freedom to Read Foundation.


Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2017:


Reasons:  discusses suicide


Reasons:  profanity, situations deemed sexually explicit

  1. DRAMA, by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons:  includes LGBT characters and was considered “confusing”

  1. THE KITE RUNNER, by Khaled Hosseini

Reasons:  includes sexual violence and was thought to “lead to terrorism” and “promote Islam”

  1. GEORGE, by Alex Gino

Reasons:  includes a transgender child

  1. SEX IS A FUNNY WORD, by Cory Silverberg and illustrated by Fiona Smith

Reasons:  addresses sex education and is believed to lead children to “want to have sex or ask questions about sex”

  1. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee

Reasons:  violence and use of the N-word

  1. THE HATE U GIVE, by Angie Thomas

Reasons:  considered “pervasively vulgar,” drug use, profanity and offensive language

  1. AND TANGO MAKES THREE, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole

Reasons:  features same-sex relationship

  1. I AM JAZZ, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Reasons:  addresses gender identity


The 2018 performance schedule for BOOKS ON THE CHOPPING BLOCK

Sunday, Sept. 23 – 2:00PM Sulzer Library

4455 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL


Monday, Sept. 24 – 6:30PM Budlong Woods Library

5630 N. Lincoln Ave., Chicago, IL


Tuesday, Sept. 25 – 4:30PM Edgewater Branch Library

6000 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL


Wednesday, Sept. 26 – 7:30PM Mt. Prospect Library

10 S. Emerson Street, Mount Prospect, IL


Thursday, Sept. 27 – 4:00PM Lincoln-Belmont Library

1659 W. Melrose St., Chicago, IL


Thursday, Sept. 27 – 7:00PM Evanston Public Library

1709 Orrington Ave., Evanston, IL


Friday, Sept. 28 – 1:00PM DePaul University Library

2350 N. Kenmore Ave., Chicago, IL


Saturday, Sept. 29 – 11:00AM Bezazian Branch – Chicago Public Library

1226 W. Ainslie St., Chicago, IL


Saturday, Sept. 29 – 2:30PM Lincolnwood Public Library

4000 W. Pratt Ave., Lincolnwood, IL