"There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate's loot on Treasure Island." - Walt Disney

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read!

September 21-27, 2014 is "Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read". This is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

Banned Books Week was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2013, and many more go unreported. The 10 most challenged titles of 2013 were:
  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
For more about books challenged as well as information about classic novels that have been challenged and/or banned, please see this list of  frequently challenged books.


Lisa Mandina said...

Great post! My Banned Books Week display has been getting a lot of attention from the students since I put it up on Monday.

The Silver Fox said...

Bone? Really? Seriously? Wow.

Stephanie Bird said...

We should never forget about the stunting qualities of censorship. I'm glad you posted about this. It's ironic and telling of the liberal area in which I live. My son's High School made one of those YA books that was banned elsewhere, mandatory summer reading! Feeling glad I live where I do.

Sheena-kay Graham said...

I'm not surprised about Fifty Shades of Grey but a lot of others do surprise me like Bone. Especially the reasons which seem ridiculous. Anyone whop doesn't want to read a particular book can go read something else. Most of these bans are just opinions taking a silly offensive tactic.

Sylvia Ney said...

I'm continually amazed at the titles that make the banned list. Some of them are obviously only appropriate and understood at certain ages, but that can also be a maturity issue, and not age specific.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

There's a religious viewpoint in the Hunger Games?
With Captain Underpants, they are taking it way too serious...

Author R. Mac Wheeler said...

I'll never get the mentality of those who fight against books...it must be really hard for simple people just to ignore those things that might appeal to others.

Susan Kane said...

I am with Alex about things being taken too seriously. When the Goosebump series by R.L.Stine came out in the 90s, there was also uproar.