Libraries are cool for celebrating it

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” ~Judy Blume

Happy Banned Books Week!

Never heard of it.

Me either, until I began Grad School.

Banned Books week is a week long event, which libraries all across the United States celebrate every year; a time for libraries to encourage people to enjoy a better sense of literary and intellectual freedom. Banned books become banned after they have first been Challenged. Look at this list and I think you will catch yourself saying, "why that book?" more than once. These are the top 100 challenged books of from 1990-2000.

Banned Books are anything that a school or library board have voted to ban from the premises of the library after challenges have been made and a vote has been reached to remove the books for reasons varying from sexual content, explicit language, adult circumstances. You name it.

Some intersting examples:
  • The Savannah Morning News reported in November 1999 that a teacher at the Windsor Forest High School required seniors to obtain permission slips before they could read Hamlet, Macbeth, or King Lear. The teacher's school board had pulled the books from class reading lists, citing "adult language" and references to sex and violence.
  • February 1, 1999-West Marion High School in Foxworth, Mississippi, the book, Fahenreit 451, was on the reading list for several of the English classes. However, after a parent complained to the superintendent about the use of the word "God damn" in the book, the book was removed from the required reading list. Interestingly, the complaint did not surface until the book report was due -- more than a month after the reading assignment was given.
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1885) by Mark Twain
    The word "nigger," which appears many times in the novel, was the cause for the removal of this classic from an eighth-grade reading list. In the 1950s, the NAACP objected to the book's perceived racist tone. In 1984, the book was removed from a public high school reading list in Waukegan, Illinois, because a black alderman found the book's language offensive.
  • Catcher in the Rye (1951)by J. D. Salinger
    This is a perennial favorite of censors and has been banned in the U.S. and Australia. In 1960, a Tulsa, OK teacher was fired for putting the book on the 11th grade reading list. The teacher was reinstated, but the book was permanently removed from teaching programs. A Minnesota high school administration was attacked for allowing the book in the school library.
  • Grapes of Wrath (1939)by John Steinbeck
    Several months after the book's publication, a St. Louis, MO library ordered 3 copies to be burned for the vulgar words used by its characters. It was also banned in Kansas City and in Oklahoma.
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
    In 1977, the Illinois Police Association urged librarians to remove the book, which portrays its characters as animals, and presents the police as pigs. The American Library Association reported similar complaints in 11 other states.

Fight for your rights to read good literature! Read a banned book today!

Some of my favorites on the banned books list: The Harry Potter series (Rowling), Blubber (Judy Blume), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Mark Twain), and James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl).

American Library Association (ALA)


Kathleen said…
So if it only takes one complaint to ban a book, how many does it take to unban it? Gotta love America!

PS Great blog!
Oh no, Kathleen...there is a whole process to ban books...many complaints and a review of the book by a library board, who has to see if the complaint is justified or not, etc. It is funny which books (some classics) have been banned for such assenine reasons!
Thanks for the comment!
great post. I envy your enthusiasm (well, not envy, but value/appreciate/etc) and I know you're going to make a great librarian.
Kerry said…
Other really good celebrations of Banned Books Week are at Smart Bitches, Trashy Books (they're running a book review contest) and Shelfcheck . Just FYI.
Thanks Effing, it's only because I haven't been doing this long enough to be burned out. *Wink*

Thanks Kerry! And welcome to my page! I appreciate the links and am checking them out right now.

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