Banned Book Week – 30 September – 6 October

30 Sep

September 30th sees the launch of the 30th anniversary of celebrating Banned Books. Banned Books Week started in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Since then more than 11,300 books have been challenged.(1) Books may be challenged for a variety of reasons, according to the top 10 list compiled by the American Library Association (ALA), in 2011, the most challenged books and reasons were:

1.ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) – Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2.The Color of Earth (series) – Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3.The Hunger Games trilogy – Suzanne Collins
Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4.My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy – Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6.Alice (series) – Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7.Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8.What My Mother Doesn’t Know – Sonya Sones
Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9.Gossip Girl (series) – Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10.To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism

I can’t say that I have read all of the books on this top 10 list, but since I’ve read The Hunger Games, I am going to use that as my example. According to the reasons cited above, it has been banned because of anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.
Anti-ethnic – I’m guessing this is because there is really not much description of various ethnicities through-out the book, unless it has to do with the movie and the controversy regarding the selection of the actress that played Rue
Anti-Family – hmm, so Katniss volunteering to enter the games in lieu of her younger sister is anti-family? or the fact that she and Gale routinely had their names entered into the drawing more than others in order to provide for their family…
Insensitivity – not sure how to categorize this – maybe the fact that many of the tributes didn’t react when they killed one and other – except for Katniss mourning Rue’s death – or maybe later on in the books when people are fighting in the Civil War and there is no time to stop and mourn the dead – I don’t know
Offensive Language – I’m blanking on any specific instances of this, but if anyone knows of any feel free to let me know
Occult/Satanic – ditto to my above comment – from what I remember from reading all 3, there is no mention religion in any form, in fact, I wondered if that was one of the things that disappeared during the initial revolution
Violence – so this is maybe the only objection that I see worthy from all 3 books – there is lots of killing, some of it gruesome – but as most of it is told through the eyes of Katniss, you see the perspective of a teenager. But at the same time, war is violent – there is really no such thing as a peaceful war…so I don’t know how else Collins could have portrayed the actions of what occurred in the world that she built.

Either way, yes, there are various reasons why this book has been banned, do I agree with the banning, hell no! I believe that it is up to the parents of the children to decide what their (and only their) kids should read. No parent other than me will tell me what my (non-existant) kids can read – until they start feeding them and clothing them.

What books on the banned book list are you planning on reading this year?

I have 2 planned – 1984 (George Orwell) and The Great Gatsby (F. Scott Fitzgerald)


Posted by on September 30, 2012 in Reading Events


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5 responses to “Banned Book Week – 30 September – 6 October

  1. Mom

    September 30, 2012 at 2:52 am

    Everything I learned about life I learned from a banned book! As you know I never banned you from reading anything – maybe that is why you are so wise!

    • Dee

      September 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      I really want a t-shirt that says that – “everything I learnt in life, I learnt from a banned book”

  2. Naomi Blackburn

    September 30, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    I haven’t taken a look to see what banned books I plan on reading to celebrate Banned Books Week. I have read numerous banned books and can never figure out why they are banned, as to me banning a book is in the eye of the beholder and what makes this group/person so special that they have a right to tell me what to read. Your post did make me think though!

  3. Brittany

    September 30, 2012 at 4:05 pm

    Weird, I never knew that The Hunger Games was even considered for a banned book! The only thing I could think of is violence… and maybe rising up against the government lol. I can’t think of offensive language much at all or occult/satanic… I think a lot of banned books are totally unjustifiable. Oh well. Great post! It was really interesting to see all of these books on the list. I really hadn’t known much about it.

    • Dee

      September 30, 2012 at 4:06 pm

      I actually wasn’t that surprised when I pulled up the list of this years books to see it on the list, ditto with Harry Potter over the last few years (for promoting the Occult)


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