Today is the beginning of Banned Book Week, which takes place the last full week of September every year! Since its creation by Judith Krug in 1982, Banned Book Week has encouraged and celebrated intellectual freedom in libraries, bookstores, and schools. It is rooted in the First Amendment, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
But why are some books banned in the first place? The most common reasons for challenging or banning a book include: Racial issues, encouragement of "damaging" lifestyles, blasphemy, sexual situations, violence or negativity, presence of witchcraft, unpopular religious affiliations, political bias, and age inappropriateness.
Here is a small list of the many books that have been challenged or banned:
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- 1984 by George Orwell
- Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
- Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood by Marjane Satrapi
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
The experiences expressed in these novels may not be easy-to-read or ideal, but they describe the truth of what many people experience. The characters show the variety of the human experience, and that is something that cannot be erased.
To read more on censorship and/or banned items, please check out the following from our library:
Forbidden Films: Censorship Histories of 125 Motion Pictures by Dawn B. Sova
100 Banned Books: Censorship Histories of World Literature by Nicholas J. Karolides
Censorship: Opposing Viewpoints Series Edited by Scott Barbour.
Liberty Denied: The Current Rise of Censorship in America by Donna A. Demac
Not in Front of the Children by Majorie Heins
Patterson, Jessie. "On Reading And Sharing Banned Books." Journal Of Children's Literature 39.2 (2013): 78-80. Education Research Complete. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.
Ferguson, Christopher J. "Is Reading “Banned” Books Associated With Behavior Problems In Young Readers? The Influence Of Controversial Young Adult Books On The Psychological Well-Being Of Adolescents." Psychology Of Aesthetics, Creativity, And The Arts 8.3 (2014): 354-362. PsycARTICLES. Web. 22 Sept. 2014.