There’s something you don’t know about me: I love to read banned books. You know, those books that you were sure if you mother caught you reading them, you would be punished for the rest of your life? Once, while sitting in the hallways of my ultra-liberal-but-still parochial-private school (Quaker), I was busted by my English teacher for reading “Emerald Ecstasy,” a fantastic, uber-romantic and sexy “pirate” book. Rather than being upset that I was reading such smut, she simply stated that she was really disappointed that I was “consuming such poorly written prose.” Like I said, I went to a private school.
Ok, “Emerald Ecstasy” probably would be listed as “banned” for its sexual content if it was a good book, which it is not. So I doubt that the American Library Association (ALA) would include it in its annual celebration of the freedom to read. This week, all over the country, libraries and bookstores are highlighting censorship by displaying books that are challenged and/or banned, and hosting events about the issue. It’s hard to believe that over 11,300 books have been challenged in libraries and schools since 1982, when the annual celebration began.
In honor of this week and, in my opinion, the inherent right to read whatever one wants to without being censored, here’s just a short list of my favorite titles, their authors and the reasons that they were banned:
- Bridge to Terribitha, Katherine Peterson
Reasons: Offensive language, use of the word “Lord.”
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group–An AMAZING book for teens to read!
- The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Reasons: Lewd, twisted, sexually explicit, suicide, euthanasia
- The Witches, by Roald Dahl
- To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: Now here’s a new one: Use of the word “nigger,” offensive to African Americans, profanity, adult themes
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
- The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
Reasons: Witchcraft, Magic
- The Outsiders, by SE Hinton
Reasons: Violence, language (and simply one of the best books ever written)
After reading the list of titles and the reasons that specific books have been banned, I was left with the same question posed by Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America:
Bottom line: Get reading folks! We have a lot of books to read this week. In honor of Banned Books Week, Lulu and I are reading “The Giver.” I’m excited to introduce her to one of my favorite novels from pre-adolescence.
Want more information on banned books and what you can do to prevent books from being banned in your community? Check out the following sites: