Celebrating Banned Books Week: We read them. Do you?

Today marks the beginning of Banned Books Week 2011 — a yearly celebration of our freedom to read whatever the heck we want! Later this week, the American Library Association will release its list of the past year’s ten most challenged books. These are books people have tried — unsuccessfully — to have removed from libraries because they don’t like something about the content.

But guess what? We have the freedom to choose our own reading material, and others can’t decide for us! That’s why we’re celebrating. The ALA talks more about protecting your right to read:

Each day, all across the country, one of our most basic freedoms — the right to read — is in danger. In communities large and small, censorship attempts threaten to  undermine our freedom to read. Without our constant support, the First Amendment freedoms that we so often take for granted — the right to read, explore ideas, and express ourselves freely — are at risk.

The First Amendment guarantees that each of us has the right to express our views, including opinions about particular books. At the same time, the First Amendment also ensures that none of us has the right to control or limit another person’s ability to read or access information. Yet, when individuals or groups file formal written requests demanding that libraries and schools remove specific books from the shelves, they are doing just that — attempting to restrict the rights of other individuals to access those books.

The rights and protections of the First Amendment extend to children and teens as well as adults. While parents have the right — and the responsibility — to guide their own children’s reading, that right does not extend to other people’s children. Similarly, each adult has the right to choose their own reading materials, along with the  responsibility to acknowledge and respect the right of others to do the same.

When we speak up to protect the right to read, we not only defend our individual right to free expression, we demonstrate tolerance and respect for opposing points of view. And when we take action to preserve our precious freedoms, we become participants in the ongoing evolution of our democratic society.

We here at Novel Novice LOVE reading books — and many of our favorites have been included in the challenged book list before. These range from perennial classics like Catcher in the Rye and To Kill a Mockingbird, to pop culture phenomenons like Twilight and Harry Potter. (And my all-time favorite: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.)

Take a look at the list of 100 most challenged books of the last ten years, and tell us in the comments below which ones are YOUR favorites to read! Then tune in throughout the week as we bring you more reasons to celebrate reading banned books!

Most Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

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10 thoughts on “Celebrating Banned Books Week: We read them. Do you?

Add yours

  1. Judy Blume, really? People need to find better ways to use their free time. Rather then using all that engery to try and ban books maybe they should use it to try and stop childhood hunger.

  2. I am shocked at this list!
    I’ve read most of these and truly enjoyed them!
    How about we start a movement to ban these ridiculous lists that try to remove such wonderful books! Haha

  3. What?! I’m so surprised that these books are considered “bad”! I’m especially shocked that some of my favorite books,-A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and Bridge to Teribithia- are considered challenged or banned! I really hope we keep our freedom to read!

  4. It’s not on the list above, but I think banning The Hunger Games just because it gave an 11-year-old nightmares makes absolutely no sense.

  5. I was very surprised to see some of the books on this list! It’s crazy!! Some of my favorites on the list are Bridge To Terabithia, The Face on the Milk Carton, and my all time favorite, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn! Thanks for opening people’s eyes to what is going on 🙂

  6. I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale right now, and I think it’s sort of ironic that people want to take away our right to read the book when one of the horrors of the book itself it that women lose the right to read.

  7. I can proudly say that I read banned books! And that I have some of these in my classroom. (My district, thankfully, doesn’t have any banned books.) My students are always shocked when we talk about the practice of banning books. Even as young adults they can see how banning a book is silly, and sometimes even makes young adults want to read them more ….

    Hmmm, maybe we should try to ban a book we really want the kids to read and see what happens.

  8. That’s so wrong! I loved the HP series and Catcher in the Rye is my favorite story that we have ever read in English class! We read I Know Why the Caged Bird sings last year in English, and even though I didn’t like it that much, I don’t think it should be banned, and I also don’t get why The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is on the list. I read to Kill a Mockingbird two summers ago and I thought it was really good, and we read The Giver in eighth grade and it was a really interesting and thought provoking read. Banning books in general is just a stupid idea. Not only did they pick great books to ban, but telling someone they can’t read something is only goig to make them wonder what’s in the book, and make them want to read it even more.

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