Banned Books Week

It’s banned book week! I feel kind of silly that I didn’t know about this before. This year I’m celebrating the freedom to read by buying a banned book I’ve never read before, rereading passages from favorite banned books, and participating in the virtual read out tomorrow! The virtual read out is an event hosted by the American Library Association where you upload a video of yourself to YouTube reading a passage from a banned book, describing eyewitness accounts of local challenges with banned books, or, simply, a video focused on banned books in someway (they have examples on their website). You can find out all about it here. In Salt Lake the King’s English is participating and I plan to head over and join in their activities.

As I was looking into this week’s events I stumbled across the ALA’s summary of the reasons behind these book bans and challenges. As I was reading this I realized that I often take books for granted. These books aren’t still around “just because.” People have fought for them. They’ve been fired from jobs and put on trial for keeping some of these books in circulation. Books that I love. How can I be anything but grateful? If you have the time I suggest checking it out (here).

I’ll also thought it would be interesting to include the American Library Association’s list of top banned and challenged classic novels in this post. These are all novels on the Radcliffe Top 100 Novels of the 20th century (hence the numbering) that have bans or challenges on record with the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Just for kicks I’m starring the ones I’ve read. Are any of these on your favorite book list? There is also a list of recent challenged books organized by years available on the ALA free download page for 2004-2005,2005-20062006-20072007-20082009-2010, and 2010-2011. These list include some of the classics, as well as more recent titles such as: Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen  Chbosky, and The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.
  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald*
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger*
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck*
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee*
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison*
  • The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding*
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck*
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley*
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell*
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner*
  • A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston*
  • Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison*
  • Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
  • Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
  • Native Son, by Richard Wright
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey*
  • Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
  • The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
  • Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
  • All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren*
  • The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
  • Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
  • A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess*
  • The Awakening, by Kate Chopin*
  • In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
  • The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
  • Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
  • Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
  • Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
  • A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
  • Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
  • Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
  • Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence
  • The Naked and the Dead, by Norman Mailer
  • Tropic of Cancer, by Henry Miller
  • An American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser
  • Rabbit, Run, by John Updike
Happy reading everyone!
Currently: ready for fall. I kicked off the Halloween season with a viewing of Psycho!
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2 thoughts on “Banned Books Week

  1. Banned books always interested me. The book I’m reading right now to my kiddos, Freak the Mighty, is on the challenged list. I’ve read it several times, and I understand why it’s challenged. There is violence, swearing, kidnapping, and Kevin is never above some not always wholesome mischief. However, I think it’s good for kids to read. I can see my kiddos don’t quite understand it, but I’m hoping a few do. I’m hoping my Sped kiddos are able to see that they have potential, and are able to accomplish things despite themselves. I’m hoping that my kids from broken families realize how important good friends are to keeping you on track. I’m hoping that it is a wake-up call for my gifted kids for how important it is for them to use their brains for the best possible outcomes.

    In short- the books with some of the hardest themes are the ones that I want my kids to read the most, because they’re the ones that teach the lessons they need to learn the most.

    • I couldn’t agree more! I love that you are doing that in your classroom. I hope it works out well, you’ll have to let me know what your students think of the book.

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