The last week of September is when wise people remind us that the freedom to read, the freedom of access to information, the freedom to choose for ourselves is always in peril. This year Banned Books Week is September 27 through October 3, although I strongly suggest that you read banned books every chance you get throughout the year.
The American Library Association provides more information on their site, including lists of frequently challenged books and the ten MOST challenged books. (“A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.”)
Despite the fact that Americans pride ourselves on our freedoms, we manage to censor or attempt to censor a surprisingly large number of books for the most bizarre reasons. Here are a few of the books that have been banned or challenged in the United States:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
- Animal Farm
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret
- Brave New World
- Brideshead Revisited
- Bridge to Terabithia
- The Canterbury Tales
- The Color Purple
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
- Farenheit 451 (yes, a book about banning books)
- The Glass Castle
- The Grapes of Wrath
- The Great Gatsby
- The Handmaid’s Tale
- Harry Potter series
- The Hunger Games series
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
- To Kill a Mockingbird
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover
- The Lord of the Rings
- Thirteen Reasons Why
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin
This list barely scratches the surface. Thankfully the internet is not yet banned–well, in fact, it is banned in many places–but most of you will be able to access sites about banned books and the actions you can take to stop the madness.
The ALA website also provides web graphics, coloring sheets, videos, and a plethora of information to help you promote Read Banned Books Week.
The most important thing you can do is buy and read banned books, and then brag about it. Speak out against literary censorship.
My own choice for Banned Books Week this year is that anarchistic classic James and the Giant Peach.