Today is the start of Banned Books Week!
If you are unfamiliar, Banned Books Week launched in 1982 after schools, libraries, and bookstores saw a surge in challenges to books. The Banned Books Week Coalition is a national alliance of organizations who seek to “increase awareness of the annual celebration of the freedom to read.” The 2016 theme is Diversity!
The Banned Books Week website has all sorts of resources, webinars, and videos. They even a We Need Diverse Books YA Short Story Contest! You can also check out this interesting Censorship Mapping Project: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/mappingcensorship
Most local libraries hold special events for this week so make sure to see what’s going on in your area!
Just for fun, here are my Top Ten Favorite Books on the American Library Association’s list of most frequently challenged books! I’m also adding why the book was banned or challenged.
- Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling: This has been challenged due to magic, setting a bad example, and being scary, among other things.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: This consistently makes the challenged list every year because people find its racial and sexual content inappropriate.
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey: Reasons include glorification of prostitution, murder, and obscenity.
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini: One reason is the claim that it desensitizes readers to violence. I think it does the complete opposite, personally.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood: Banned for being sexually explicit and morally corrupt. Side note: this is one of my all-time favorite books and I highly recommend reading it!
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein: Challenged for promoting “disrespect.”
- Beloved by Toni Morrison: Banned for violence, language, and “inappropriate topics.”
- The Giver by Lois Lowry: Challenged for being “too dark.”
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain: This has been challenged or banned since its publication, basically. Mainly due to the use of racial slurs.
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl: For encouraging disobedience, and for having magical elements.
And honorable mention to Where’s Waldo by Martin Hanford! I have no idea how this was challenged so many times that it made a top 100 list but there you go!
For more information on how to Celebrate the Freedom to Read this week, check out the Coalition’s website: http://www.bannedbooksweek.org/ or the American Library Association’s website: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek.
What are some of your favorite banned books?