Banned Books Week

Every year in September, Cast of Wonders celebrates Banned Books Week, an annual international event celebrating the freedom to read and raising awareness of the immense social value of free and open access to information.

Banned Books Week 2023

We will be opening to submissions for Banned Books Week 2023 in the first half of April. Watch this space for details on the theme and guest editor!

Submissions should follow all of the standard Cast of Wonders guidelines.

Prior Episodes

2022’s theme was To See Yourself in Pages, Paragraphs, Sentences, and Words: Books, Stories, and Representation

…stories that show how books and stories serve as a beacon for identity, serving to draw peoples and communities together; books that make the statement: “This is who I am, this is who we are, and we will be heard!”

  • Guest editor Alicia Caporaso
  • Production by Jeremy Carter


  • Cast of Wonders 508: The Book That Wasn’t by Sally Sultzman, narrated by Julia Hawkes-Reed, hosted by Alicia Caporaso
  • Cast of Wonders 509: Far From the Home I Love by Y M Resnik, narrated by Victoria Marklew, hosted by Alicia Caporaso

2021’s theme was Books Unite Us, Censorship Divides Us

Have you ever made friends with someone who loved the same book you did? You started the conversation as strangers, but you feel so passionately about the ideas expressed in this book that you end as comrades in arms?

It’s a book that speaks to shared experience, shared pain—and therefore lights the way to shared learning, shared hope, and shared healing.

  • Production by Jeremy Carter
  • Episode artwork by Alexis Goble


2020’s theme was Lifelines: books that help us get through periods of isolation.

“Books” can be any one-way form of communication: a box of letters, a podcast, skywriting — anything the recipient can’t easily reply to. “Isolation” can be either physical or social: an astronaut alone in a spaceship; a person in a place where no one speaks their language; someone in prison.

  • Guest editor Laura Pearlman
  • Production by Jeremy Carter
  • Episode artwork by Alexis Goble


  • Cast of Wonders 433: The Last Love Letter by Gretchen Tessmer, narrated by Katherine Inskip, hosted by Laura Pearlman
  • Cast of Wonders 434: The Pop-Up Artisan of Drink Me Cafe by Marie Croke, narrated by Kitty Sarkozy, hosted by Laura Pearlman
  • Cast of Wonders 435: Volumes by Laura Duerr, narrated by Julie Hoverson, hosted by Laura Pearlman

2019’s theme was Censorship Leaves Us in the Dark. Turn the Light On!

Oppression wants to cover our lives in a blanket of darkness, but each small act of resistance, each defiant moment of hope, brings light to our shared spaces.

  • Guest editor Julia Rios
  • Production by Jeremy Carter
  • Episode artwork by Alexis Goble


2018’s theme was Libraries.

With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one – but no one at all – can tell you what to read and when and how.” – Doris Lessing

People can lose their lives in libraries. They ought to be warned.” – Saul Bellow

A good library can give you answers to the questions you never knew you had. A good librarian can open doors to worlds you never knew existed.


2017’s theme was  Text Against Tyranny: the stories some would silence, and the power of literature, in all its forms, to enlighten humanity’s darkest hours.


Cast of Wonders 214: The Price of Stories by Shannon Connor Winward, narrated by Katherine Inskip

Cast of Wonders 215: Problematic by Brian Lawrence Hurrel, narrated by Tatiana Grey

Cast of Wonders 216: This Story Begins With You by Rachael K. Jones, narrated by Jen. R. Albert

The following episodes are examples of the type of stories we have run for prior Banned Books Week events: