Banned Books Week: What You Need to Know

Censorship is alive and well, as highlighted by Banned Books Week—and you might be surprised by who the most vocal challengers of books are.


The importance of the First Amendment and the concept of "intellectual
freedom" might not always be readily apparent to most kids, but Banned
Books Week is a great opportunity to make those lessons come alive for
children—and adults.

Banned Books Week is held annually during the last week of Sept. (Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2012). The week is an occasion for libraries and bookstores across the U.S. to help folks realize just how real and ongoing a problem censorship is.

More than 11,000 books have been challenged (though not necessarily
successfully *censored*) since 1982, the inaugural year of Banned Books
Week. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the vast
majority of challenges to books are initiated locally by parents,
 likely in well-meaning attempts to protect their children.

Last year, there were 326 challenges reported to the ALA’s Office of
Intellectual Freedom, based on everything from offensive language, to
violence, insensitivity, religious viewpoint and sexual explicitness. In
addition to those challenges, the ALA estimates that as many as 60 to 70
percent of challenges may go unreported.

Over the past year, the 10 most challenged titles were:

1. *ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r* (series) by Lauren Myracle

2. *The Color of Earth* (series) by Kim Dong Hwa * *

3. *The Hunger Games* trilogy by Suzanne Collins

4. *My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy* by
Dori Hillestad Butler

5. *The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian* by Sherman Alexie

6. *Alice* (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

7. *Brave New World* by Aldous Huxley

8. *What My Mother Doesn't Know* by Sonya Sones

9. *Gossip Girl* (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar

*10. To Kill a Mockingbird* by Harper Lee

Among banned and challenged classics you’re likely familiar with are:

- *The Great Gatsby* by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- *The Catcher in the Rye* by J.D. Salinger
- *The Grapes of Wrath* and *Of Mice and Men *by John Steinbeck
- *The Color Purple* by Alice Walker
- *Ulysses* by James Joyce
- *The Lord of the Flies* by William Golding
- *Animal Farm* and *1984 *by George Orwell
- *The Sun Also Rises *and *A Farewell to Arms* by Ernest Hemingway
- *Beloved *and *Song of Solomon* by Toni Morrison
- *In Cold Blood *by Truman Capote

If you’re interested in celebrating Banned Books Week as part of a lesson
for your kids—or simply to feel like a rebellious reader—check out these
additional resources:

- Mapping Censorship, a visual representation of places books have been challenged in the US, created from cases documented by the ALA and the Kids’
Right to Read Project 

- Virtual Read-Out, a worldwide celebration of the freedom to read, featured on a dedicated Banned Books Week YouTube channel
- State-by-state listing of BBW events
- Banned Books Week on Facebook and Twitter
- Free BBW downloads from the ALA, like badges and Facebook cover art


TELL US: Do you think books should be banned from schools, bookstores or

bethelite September 14, 2012 at 01:46 AM
Really? You couldn't even delete the *Localize section if you weren't going to use it? Do you even read these canned articles before reposting them?
Michael Shea September 14, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Hilarious - an official, organized "rebellion"! Banned books? Please - every high school kid in the country gets Toni Morrison and Catcher in the Rye thrust into their hands and has an unlimited array of obscenity available via any iPhone or computer. I think we ought to quit congratulating ourselves over fighting censorship and try to get people to read works with actual literary merit.


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