Celebrate Banned Books Week, Sept. 26 – Oct. 3


Banned Books Week is the annual event in which libraries, schools, and people who generally care about ideas and democracy celebrate the freedom to read and the importance of the USA’s First Amendment rights.

Many books are challenged in communities and schools throughout the country every year, simply because someone somewhere disagrees with the ideas contained within and/or does not feel said ideas are appropriate for the general public.  The most challenged books for 2008, according to the American Library Association, are as follows (via):

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

(Shocking that none of the Twilight series made the list in ’08.  I imagine they’ll be making a comeback on the 2009 list.  Possibly Harry Potter, too.)

And just so you don’t think that only recent books are challenged or outright banned, ALA also keeps a list of classics named on the Radcliffe Publishing  Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century that have been frequent challenge subjects, along with the typical reasons for those challenges.  At least 42 of the 100 have been challenged thus far.

Celebrate your freedom to read!