Monday, September 27, 2010

Banned Books Week: September 25 - October 2, 2010

Banned Books Week: September 25 – October 2, 2010

“Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.” ~from the American Library Association

The Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009:

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

The Updated Top 100 List of Banned Books for 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
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 Myracle, Lauren
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 by George Beard
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

I’ve bolded, and put in red, the ones that I’ve read. Most of these I read when I was in grade school. In fact, A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle is one of my favorite books from childhood. As always I’m incredibly shocked by the efforts of some people to censor and control other people’s lives.

The ALA estimates that it’s statistics only reflect 20-25% of the challenges that actually occur.

How can you celebrate? Read a banned book. Talk about a banned book. Support our libraries.

Here’s an article from the New York Times about other ways to celebrate Banned Books Week.

Some of my favorite quotes about books, and what joy they can bring people:

“Don't join the book burners. Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book...” ~ Dwight D. Eisenhower

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” ~ Cicero

“Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.” ~ Groucho Marx

“When I step into this library, I cannot understand why I ever step out of it.” ~ Marie de Sevinge

“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~Anna Quindlen, "Enough Bookshelves," New York Times, 7 August 1991

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.” ~Charles W. Eliot

“Medicine for the soul.” ~Inscription over the door of the Library at Thebes

“To choose a good book, look in an inquisitor’s prohibited list.” ~John Aikin

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