Happy Banned Books Week!
This annual celebration, which began in 1982, is dedicated to freedom of expression and the freedom to read and looks at all the books that have been banned for one reason or another. This event was launched around the same time as the court case Island Tree Schools District v. Pico, in which the Supreme Court ruled that school libraries can’t ban books because of their content. Even so, books are still being challenged today.
In honor of this week, I thought I’d take a look at some of the most challenged and banned books and why they’re banned.
Challenged Books of All Time
- 1984 by George Orwell. Challenged for sexuality and pro-communist messages.
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger. Challenged for profanity.
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Challenged for reference to drugs, sexuality, and profanity.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Challenged for profanity, sexuality, racial slurs, and extreme violence.
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Challenged for offensive language and racism.
Challenged Books of 2019:
- George by Alex Gino. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and for sexual and religious issues.
- A Day in the Life of Marlene Bundo by Jill Twists. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ viewpoints.
- Prince & Knight by Daniel Haack. Challenged for LGBTQIA+ content and religious viewpoints.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Challenged for vulgarity, profanity, and sexual references.
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Challenged for witchcraft, magic, and how the characters use questionable means to attain their goals.
Challenged Children’s Books:
- Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. Challenged for blasphemy and sexual content.
- Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss. Challenged because it promotes violence by encouraging children to “hop on their fathers.”
- The Giver by Lois Lowry. Challenged because of violence.
- Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park. Challenged because of bad grammar and the disrespectful attitude of the main character.
- Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford. Banned because somewhere in the crowd of people on a beach, a woman is sunbathing topless.
To celebrate this week, why don’t we make those challengers angry and read something that’s often questioned about being put on the shelves?