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Banned Books Week

I wanted to take a break from SPN for a bit and post something for Banned Books Week.

These are books that have been challenged in libraries or classrooms due to material that was deemed inappropriate by someone.  Challenges to material occur for a variety of reasons, including sexually explicit or offensive language, unsuited to an age group, violence, homosexuality, the occult, religious viewpoint, or considered anti-family.  Usually libraries have a specific procedure set out to review a challenge.  There are several outcomes that can happen to these titles.  They can survive the challenge and remain on the shelves, they can be removed from the library entirely, or they can be moved to a new section of the library.  This happens mostly with young adult literature that gets moved to the adult section.  Sometimes the items can be restricted to library users who can prove that they are 18 or older.

Although this week is called Banned Books Week, this includes more than books.  It's visual material like films, documentaries, and television programming or it could be audio material like music or audiobooks.  One of the other places where efforts are made to restrict access to material is by restricting what comes into the library via the internet.  That is worth a whole journal entry all by itself.

Not all challenges are made through a formal procedure.  I've worked in several libraries where the books on witches and witchcraft or the occult would be checked out and then "lost", items got stolen, and in one particularly memorable case, the book Sex For One kept getting stuffed down the back of the book shelves and staff had to keep liberating it.  If a library is committed to keeping these titles on its shelves, there are replacement costs involved.

As a kid who started reading fiction out of the adult section of the library pretty young and as a librarian who believes that the freedom to read is wrapped up with the freedom of speech, I think it's important to see what gets challenged.  You don't realize you're missing something if you don't know it exists in the first place.

Here are 2 lists of challenged books.  I've bolded what I've read.  If you want to plunk this in your journal with your own bolding, feel free.

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

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
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

The Radcliffe Publishing Course compiled a list of the 20th century’s top 100 novels at the request of the Modern Library editorial board.  Of those 100 titles, the 46 below are the ones about which the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom has received reports of challenges.  A lot goes unreported.

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
11. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
12. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
15. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
16. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
17. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
18. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
19. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
20. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
23. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
24. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
25. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
26. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
27. Native Son, by Richard Wright
28. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, by Ken Kesey
29. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
30. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
33. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
36. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
38. All the King's Men, by Robert Penn Warren
40. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
45. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
48. Lady Chatterley's Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
49. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
50. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
53. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
55. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
57. Sophie's Choice, by William Styron
64. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 26th, 2013 06:22 pm (UTC)
The Invisible Man was just banned in a district in this state bec. of a parent's complaints (interestingly it had been considered for the required reading list). However, just 10 days later the ruling was reversed! It seems that there was backlash. :)

The Stupids (series) are on this list?! I love those books. I found them so hilarious that I bought some of them when I was in my late 20's (before I was even thinking about kids) just so I could laugh my face off at them in the privacy of my own home.

I didn't know you were a librarian. Awesome.
Sep. 26th, 2013 10:14 pm (UTC)
It's always fascinating to hear the reasons why people want things banned. I'm glad there was a backlash.

I worked in libraries and a related non-profit from the time I was 15 until my kid was born when I was 36. Most of it was in public libraries but after I got my library degree I did a 4 year stint at the state library in Michigan, kind of like Michigan's version of the Library of Congress. Now I just go to my kid's current school and her old elementary library to shelve books. I just can't get enough of that Dewey Decimal System. I know it's a gateway drug to the Library of Congress call numbering system but I can't quit. Maybe there's a patch. It's probably at 616.86. ;-)
Oct. 17th, 2013 12:00 am (UTC)
Maybe there's a patch. It's probably at 616.86. ;-)

OMG, you ARE Sam Winchester and have the Dewey Decimal Classification memorized! \o/\o/\o/ I (obviously) had to look it up because I'm not that awesome.
Oct. 17th, 2013 12:13 pm (UTC)
Hee, I'd like to think I have it memorized that much but nope, just the few spots that I reshelve kids books in over and over. Fairy tales, dinosaurs, pets, the greater animal kingdom like peguins and sharks, football books and of all things, weather. I actually hate shelving stuff near the early 600's because the disease books are in there. I always cringe picking up anything that says "lice" on it. 8-)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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