It’s Banned Books Week! Woo!

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Well, as you may or may not know, the week of September 29-October 6 is banned books week. What a wonderful celebration! This week marks the 26th anniversary of Banned Books Week, and is the perfect time to pick up one of the many fabulous books that you are still allowed to read, despite the numerous removal requests.

Did you know that you could challenge books you find offensive? Weird! I always thought I just wouldn’t read them, but you know, whatever. (Now I have a picture in my head “My child accidentally spent 6 hours reading 300 pages that offended her parents! How dare you let these books loose on an unsuspecting public!”) I did some digging and found that the most common reason for challenging a book was “sexually explicit content.” Does that surprise anyone at all? Not me. The close second was offensive language, followed by unsuited to age group, occult theme, violence, promoting homosexuality, and promoting a religious viewpoint. A few books were also challenged for nudity (um…nudity? Really? Did these books have pictures, or were the people challenging the naughty thoughts in their own heads?) racism, sex education, and anti-family.

New goal! I’m going to read all the books on the ALA’s “100 most frequently challenged books” list! That sounds like an all around good time to me.

For those of you who want to know, here are the top 10 most challenged books of 2006: (from ALA’s site)

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;

“Gossip Girls” series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

“Alice” series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;

“The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things” by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

“Scary Stories” series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;

“Athletic Shorts” by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language;

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

“Beloved” by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;

“The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.

And for those who also want to know, here’s the top 100 most challenged books from 1990-2000. I wish they’d do an all time list–I’d love that!

  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume (Really? Judy Blume’s on the list? Aren’t here books a staple for third graders everywhere?)
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (You know, I bet this is on the list just because it made people cry. Stupid book! Now I expect Old Yeller and the last Harry Potter to be here, too.)
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine (Umm…Goosebumps? Did someone try and ban hastily written horror-lite for teens? Actually, that might be a better reason than some of them on the list….)
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (Uh, why? I can’t remember anything remotely offensive in this book. Maybe someone really hates physics or something.)
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl (Oh, good lord. I bet this one just got on the list because it has witches in the title. I’ve read more offensive things in the Sunday Comics in Virginia.)
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume (Look! It’s Judy again! I guess people were super offended by a story about a little girl getting picked on in school.)
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan (Alright, this book sound really good. I think I’m going to start here.)
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras (Yep, I can see why this is here. Girls should not read about their periods! That is a subject for parents to uncomfortably address two days after a girl freaks out because she’s bleeding somewhere strange!)
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (Now wait a minute…is it even legal to try and ban Shel Silverstein? I don’t think it is! I bet it was that poem about eating peas with honey…that did screw me up as a child for awhile, after all. Peas and honey are gross. And it’s hard to eat with only a knife. Stupid poems. )
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) (Well, ok, I can see the offense in these. But they were so pornographically good! People need to get laid more often, I think.)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King (This one is just here because it’s my least favorite Stephen King book, I bet. There were bunches of Stephen King fans who thought “oh, what is this crap?!? Ban him!”)
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (Well, yes, giant peaches are offensive, after all.)
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume (Judy again! That’s number three, lady! Good for you.)
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly (Hey, I liked this book. People are weird.)
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume (Judy! Judy!)
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford (Um, are these those find Waldo books? Really? Was someone offended by the striped hat and cane?)
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Well, want to do something else? In honor of Banned Book Week, I just took a few moments to email my U.S. Representative and remind her about how important certain freedoms are to me. You can do the same! Enjoy the week!

–Adrienne

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Published in: on October 2, 2007 at 4:21 pm  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Knew this was from Adie when I saw the title. And yes, I would like to read all of those too, at least the ones I didn’t read to her when she was a babe.

  2. That was awesome! Thanks. Apparently, Judy Blume and Toni Morrison are just plain demonic and can’t write a book that oughtn’t be banned.

  3. Oh wait, that last comment was Ben. I wonder how I sign on as myself …

  4. Dammitt! That one, too. And this one. Hold on…

  5. Alright. I think I got this figured out now.

  6. Some of the real reasons some of the books are banned are funny. like #51 a light in the attic was banned because there was a poem about a kid who broke dishes so he didn’t have to dry them and parents thought there kids might actually do it so they banned the book.

    My friend is reading everybook on this list just because their on the banned list.


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