Did you know there was such a thing as Banned Books Week? 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. It celebrates the freedom to read by encouraging read-outs, displays, and community activities that raise awareness of the ongoing threat of censorship.
More than 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982 according to the American Library Association. There were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2014, and many more go unreported.
The American Library Association compiles lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The ALA condemns censorship and works to ensure free access to information.
What Are Banned Books?
Banning books is the removal of those materials that a person or group deem inappropriate. These people start challenges in an attempt to remove material from a curriculum, book store, or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of people in the community such as librarians, teachers, parents, students, and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful, and most materials remain in the school curriculum, book store, or library collection.
Banned Books Week 2015
According to the event’s national planning committee, Young Adult books will be the focus of Banned Books Week 2015. It will run from September 27 through October 3, 2015, and will be observed in libraries, schools, book stores, and other community settings across the nation and the world.
A Free Activity Sheet for Banned Books Week
If you decide to observe Banned Books Week this year, you might want to use this Free Banned Books Activity Sheet. Listed below are some of the classic banned books, and below that you can find information about books that have been banned more recently. Of course you should decide if your children are mature enough to read any of these banned books and, if so, how you want to handle this potentially difficult subject.
Classic Banned Books
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- Ulysses, by James Joyce
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
- The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
- Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
- Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
- Animal Farm, by George Orwell
- The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
- As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
- A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
- Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
- Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
- Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
- Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
- For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
- The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
- Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
- All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
- The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
- The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
- The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
- Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
- A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
- Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
- Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Some of the Most Banned Books 0f 2014
According to the American Library Association, these are the most challenged books of 2014. The reasons they have been challenged are also listed.
1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2) Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6) Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9) A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10) Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit