Across the country, books have come under attack. Books by LGBTQ+ authors, women, authors of color, and books with potentially “sensitive” themes such as gender, racism, and sexuality must fight harder than ever for a place on the shelves.

September 18 marks the beginning of Banned Books Week, an annual event highlighting challenged and censored books and the importance of the freedom to read. At Well Done, we believe in the power of words, and the great importance of reading what others don’t want you to read. Which is why we’ve started a book club specifically for banned books.

Why it matters

Here’s the thing: Banned books give us the chance to learn about perspectives we otherwise may not see, and they offer relevant commentary for social justice issues that are still present today. Beginning this week through September of next year, we’ve challenged ourselves to read six banned books—and we encourage you to read them with us.

We’re starting with Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, the book follows Starr Carter, a young girl who witnesses her friend being shot by the police. Since its initial release in 2017, would-be censors around the country have attempted to ban the book for language, drug use, and anti-cop messaging. It has consistently been in the list of top ten challenged or banned books since its release.

Despite its consistent challenges, The Hate U Give has also been the recipient of several awards, including multiple Goodreads Choice Awards, the William C. Morris award, and multiple other honors and accolades in just the two years after its initial debut.

What we’re going to do about it

When we finish a book on our list, we’ll keep you up to date on what we thought about it—and more important, why we think you should read it, too. From discussion guides to redesigned book covers, blog posts, and even a handy bookmark to keep your place, we’ll guide you through everything we think you need to know about our selects.

As Oscar Wilde once said, “The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.” We will not shy away from the themes these books call out, and we will work to make sure these books remain visible to all.