Banned Books Week

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Every year libraries around the country spotlight freedom of information by shining a light on Banned Books. Books are banned regularly within public libraries, bookstores and schools. They are banned for sexual content, violence, religious reasons, racism, and much more. To learn more see the American Library Association website or see the challenged books for 2015-2016.

Top ten challenged books from 2000-2009. Which ones have your read?

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Celebrate by reading a banned book from our collection:

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. “Challenged as a summer reading assignment in the Knoxville, Tenn. high school system (2015) because a parent claimed the nonfiction book “has too
much graphic information.”

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America. “Challenged, but retained on the Easton, Pa. Area High School’s Advanced Placement English reading list (2012) despite several residents and persons from outside the district calling the book “faddish,” of “no moral value,” and even “obscene.”

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. “Restricted to students with parental permission at the Ocean View School District middle school libraries in Huntington Beach, Calif. (2009) because the “book’s contents were inappropriate for children.” Challenged in the Newman-Crows Landing, Calif. School District (2009) on a required reading list presented by the Orestimba High English Department. A trustee questioned the qualifications of Orestimba staff to teach a novel depicting African American culture. Removed as required reading in Annapolis, Md. freshman English curriculum (2006) because the book’s rape scenes and other mature content are too advanced for ninth-graders.”

John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. “Challenged, but retained at the Jersey CUSD 100 in Jerseyville, Ill. (2015) despite a complaint by a local pastor who found the book “disturbing, very close to a
strong, mild pornography… To me that book represents a [disrespectful attitude toward] parents and their judgments.”

A Thousand Splendid Suns. Even though this book wasn’t banned the author’s previous novel The Kite Runner has numerous challenges including most recently in 2015. “Suspended, but later reinstated as approved reading at the Buncombe County, N.C. schools (2015). The complainant, a self-described “conservative government watchdog,” cited state law requiring local boards of
education to include “character education” in the curriculum. She also said schools must teach sex education from an abstinence-only perspective.”

You can also read about That Sex Book at Downton Abbey  by Marie Stopes and her controversial views on marriage and birth control in the early 1900s. “An early ban of the book in America on obscenity charges was overturned in 1931, by the same judge who overturned the ban on James Joyce’s Ulysses.”

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