Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week Day One: Why Celebrate?

It’s Banned Books Week!

When I celebrated Banned Books Week in my library last year, a lot of patrons were confused?

“Are you celebrating banning books?”

“No, we’re celebrating the fact that we have the freedom to read banned books.”

*Confused look*

“Why is that important?

Why indeed?  I think a couple things were confusing to that patron that day.  To begin with, when one hears the word “banned” it calls up an image of legitimacy.  If something is banned, it must be bad, so why read it?  Instead, banning happens to some of the greatest books that have ever been written.  It is not done with anymore authority than one person or a small group of people’s entitled opinions.

Additionally, the word “ban” seems to indicate legality.  Actually, the letter of the law doesn’t lay with the people who are banning the books, but with the books and ideas within them they’re striking down.

So, why is it important to read celebrate our freedom to read a banned book?

Well, when has ignorance ever been a force for good in this world?

This Banned Books week, I will be discussing the top reasons why books are banned and the books that have been taken out of the hands of readers because of them.  I’m particularly bothered by book banning because the hands these books are ripped out of are typically those of a child.  We shield children from books and ideas to protect them, but what are we actually protecting them from?

Facts about Banned books:

Books Most Frequently Banned in 2010 as reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom (Source:
  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson 
    Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie 
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
    Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins 
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins 
    Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend 
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  7. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones 
    Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich 
    Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie 
    Reasons:  homosexuality and sexually explicit
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer 
    Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

Statistics about Banned Books (Source:


  1. Fantastic post! We are doing a whole week of Banned book posts and giveaways

  2. Thanks Sheila, I'll be sure to watch your reviews!