Each year, the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from libraries shelves and from classrooms. According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. Despite being widely accepted as classic literature, these titles are often banned or challenged for the same reasons as contemporary books.

The titles below represent banned or challenged books on that list, and some of the latest reasons why.

rye_catcherThe Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

* Challenged, but retained  on the shelves of Limestone County, AL school district (2000) despite objections about the  book’s foul language.

* Banned, but later reinstated after community protests at the Windsor  Forest High School in Savannah, GA (2000). The controversy began in early 1999 when a  parent complained about sex, violence, and profanity in the book that was part of an  Advanced Placement English class.

* Removed by a Dorchester District 2 school board member in  Summerville, SC (2001) because it “is a filthy, filthy book.”

* Challenged by a Glynn County,  GA (2001) school board member because of profanity. The novel was retained.

* Challenged in  the Big Sky High School in Missoula, MT (2009).


johnsteinbeck_thegrapesofwrathThe Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck

*Challenged at the Cummings High School in Burlington, NC (1986) as an optional reading assignment  because the “book is full of filth. My son is being raised in a Christian home and this book takes the Lord’s name in vain and has all kinds of profanity in it.” Although the  parent spoke to the press, a formal complaint with the school demanding the book’s removal  was not filed.

*Challenged at the Moore County school system in Carthage, NC (1986) because  the book contains the phase “God damn.”

*Challenged in the Greenville, SC schools (1991)  because the book uses the name of God and Jesus in a “vain and profane manner along with  inappropriate sexual references.”

*Challenged in the Union City, TN High School  classes (1993).


to_kill_a_mockingbirdTo Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

*Challenged by a Glynn County, GA (2001) School Board member because of profanity. The novel was retained. Returned to the freshman reading list at Muskogee, OK High School (2001) despite complaints over the years from black students and parents about racial slurs in the text.

*Challenged in the Normal, IL Community High School’s sophomore literature class (2003) as being degrading to African Americans.

*Challenged at the Stanford Middle School in Durham, NC (2004) because the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel uses the word “n*****.”

*Challenged at the Brentwood, TN Middle School (2006) because the book contains “profanity” and “contains adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape, and incest.”  The complainants also contend that the book’s use of racial slurs promotes “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.”

*Retained in the English curriculum by the Cherry Hill, NJ Board of Education (2007).  A resident had objected to the novel’s depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression.  The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it.
*Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “n*****.”


colorpurpleThe Color Purple, by Alice Walker

*Removed from the Jackson County, WV school libraries (1997) along with sixteen other titles. Challenged, but retained as part of a supplemental reading list at the Shawnee School in Lima, OH (1999). Several parents described its content as vulgar and “X-rated.”

*Removed from the Ferguson High School library in Newport News, VA (1999). Students may request and borrow the book with parental approval.

*Challenged, along with seventeen other titles in the Fairfax County, VA elementary and secondary libraries (2002), by a group called Parents Against Bad Books in Schools. The group contends the books “contain profanity and descriptions of drug abuse, sexually explicit conduct, and torture.”

*Challenged in Burke County (2008) schools in Morganton, NC by parents concerned about the homosexuality, rape, and incest portrayed in the book.

 


ulysses_james_joyce_ Ulysses, by James Joyce

*Burned in the U.S. (1918), Ireland (1922), Canada (1922), England (1923) and banned in England (1929).

 

 

 

 


belovedBeloved, by Toni Morrison

*Challenged in the Sarasota County, FL schools (1998) because of sexual material.  Retained on the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 reading listing in Arlington Heights, IL (2006), along with eight other challenged titles.  A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet.

*Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene School District, ID (2007).  Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them.

*Pulled from the senior Advanced Placement (AP) English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY (2007) because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted the inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex.  The principal ordered teachers to start over with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in preparation for upcoming AP exams.


lordofthefliesbookcoverThe Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

*Challenged in the Waterloo, IA schools (1992) because of profanity, lurid passages about sex, and statements defamatory to minorities, God, women and the disabled.

*Challenged, but retained on the ninth-grade accelerated English reading list in Bloomfield, NY (2000).
 

 

 


1984-book-cover1984, by George Orwell

*Challenged in the Jackson County, FL (1981) because Orwell’s novel is “pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter.”

 

 

 

 


e5ee0bb0efc66de49e34fdd8c1bef35fLolita, by Vladmir Nabokov

*Challenged at the Marion-Levy Public Library System in Ocala, FL (2006).  The Marion County commissioners voted to have the county attorney review the novel that addresses the themes of pedophilia and incest, to determine if it meets the state law’s definition of “unsuitable for minors.”

 

 

 


ofmiceandmenOf Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

*Banned from the George County, MS schools (2002) because of profanity. Challenged in the Normal, IL Community High Schools (2003) because the books contains “racial slurs, profanity, violence, and does not represent traditional values.” An alternative book, Steinbeck’s The Pearl, was offered but rejected by the family challenging the novel.  The committee then recommended The House on Mango Street and The Way to Rainy Mountain as alternatives.

*Retained in the Greencastle-Antrim, PA (2006) tenth-grade English classes.  A complaint was filed because of “racial slurs” and profanity used throughout the novel.  The book has been used in the high school for more than thirty years, and those who object to its content have the option of reading an alternative reading.

*Challenged at the Newton, IA High School (2007) because of concerns about profanity and the portrayal of Jesus Christ.  Newton High School has required students to read the book since at least the early 1980s.  In neighboring Des Moines, it is on the recommended reading list for ninth-grade English, and it is used for some special education students in the eleventh and twelfth grades.

*Retained in the Olathe, KS ninth grade curriculum (2007) despite a parent calling the novel a “worthless, profanity-riddled book” which is “derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.”

Source: American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom

bbw_virtualreadout_logo3_lgAre you interested in participating in Banned Books Week, but don’t know how? Consider joining many celebrities, libraries and bookstores across the country in the Banned Books Virtual Read-Out!

Participants may proclaim the importance of the freedom to read by posting videos that will be featured on the Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out YouTube channel.

Video criteria

*Choose a favorite banned/challenged book and talk about what the book meant to you and how you would feel if someone prevented you from reading it.

*A reading of a banned or challenged book. The video should include information on where and why the book was banned or challenged. You may also wish to add your thoughts on the importance of keeping that particular book on library or bookstore shelves.

*Discuss an eyewitness accounts of local challenges.

*For those who are camera shy, you can still participate in the Banned Books Virtual Read-out by creating a video montage that centers on banned/challenged books. Thomas University created a video last year that can be used as an example.

Submitting your video

Submit your video by filling out this form. You must have a YouTube/Gmail account in order to upload to YouTube.

Source: American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom

Banned Books Week 2016 continues more  than 30 years of celebrating  – and protecting – the freedom to read. This freedom to choose what we read from the fullest array of possibilities is firmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the amendment that guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Even as we enjoy a seemingly limitless and expanding amount of information, there is always a danger in someone else selecting what is available and to whom. Would-be censors from all quarters and political persuasions threaten our right to choose for ourselves.

The year’s Banned Book Week is focusing on the diversity of authors and ideas that have prompted a disproportionate share of challenges. ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom estimates that more than half of all banned books are by authors of color or ones that represent groups of viewpoints outside the mainstream. 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. When we take action to preserve our freedoms, we become participants in the ongoing evolution of our democratic society.

infographictopten2015_long_

 

“Something will be offensive to someone in every book, so you’ve got to fight it.” – Judy Blume

Judy Blume would know — she has 5 of the top 100 most challenged books from 1990-1999 — but when you peruse the lists of the most frequently challenged books, it is hard not to agree.  Below, I’ve highlighted the three challenged books that surprised me the most.

strega nonaStrega Nona by Tomie dePaola
Tomie dePaola’s classic picture book is often cited as one of the best picture books of all time — it was #34 on SLJ’s Top 100 Picture Books — so it might come as a surprise that it has been challenged.  The story of a magical old woman (“grandma witch”) who tells her assistant — Big Anthony — not to touch her magical pot of pasta.  Big Anthony ignores her and Strega Nona must save the day before the town is overrun in pasta.
Why was it challenged or banned? Witchcraft, of course.

wheres waldoWhere’s Waldo by Martin Hanford
I loved Where’s Waldo books as a kid.  My mom would bring a stack of them with us on long car rides and they would entertain my brother and me for hours.  Waldo books are a challenge of concentration and a fantastic way to get kids to pick up on pattern and color.  I looked at these books for hours and before reading about why the book was challenged and banned, I would have never guessed.
Why was it challenged or banned? Apparently in searching for Waldo, some people have been shocked to find topless sunbathers, gay couples, and people holding up the rocker hand sign (or as they called it “Hail Satan”).

charlotte's webCharlotte’s Web by E.B. White
I wept the first time I read this book.  This beautiful story about the friendship between Wilbur, a pig, and Charlotte, a barn spider, is a classic.  It is heartbreaking in the way many of the best children’s books are, and is beloved around the world.  When I think of stories to share with children, I’ve always thought that this is a safe (albeit sad)  book to recommend.  Apparently, I was wrong.
Why was it challenged or banned? It was banned in 2006 when a group of parents were upset that it included talking animals and inappropriate subject matter (death).

henriettaJust in time for Banned Books Week, a challenge has been filed in the Knox County (Tenn.) School District against the New York Times bestseller “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot.

Published in 2010, the book is medical biography that explores issues of medical ethics, race, poverty, and health care inequality. In 1951, 31-year-old Henrietta Lacks underwent treatment for cervical cancer at Johns Hopkins University. While she would die from the disease, her tissue samples – taken without her knowledge or consent – would be used to create HeLa, an “immortal” cell line. HeLa was sold around the world, and was critical to many medical developments from the polio vaccine to AIDS treatments. Despite this, Lacks’ family never learned of use of HeLa until more than twenty years after her death, when scientists began using her husband and children in research without informed consent.

The book intertwines Lacks’ life with larger issues of human medical experimentation, in particular on African-American patients, and the heartbreaking loss of a young mother of five. The book also addresses issues of violence and infidelity, the description of which a parent of a 15-year-old student assigned to read the book over summer break objected to. Also at issue was the description of Lacks’ intimate discovery of a lump on her cervix. Claiming that the book was inappropriate for teens, the parent stated, “I consider the book pornographic,” she said, adding that it was the wording used that was the most objectionable. “It could be told in a different way,” she said. “There’s so many ways to say things without being that graphic in nature, and that’s the problem I have with this book.” The author, Rebecca Skloot, who worked for 10 years on the book alongside Henrietta’s daughter, stated on her Facebook page:

“… A parent in Tennessee has confused gynecology with pornography … I hope the students of Knoxville will be able to continue to learn about Henrietta and the important lessons her story can teach them. Because my book is many things: It’s a story of race and medicine, bioethics, science illiteracy, the importance of education and equality and science and so much more. But it is not anything resembling pornography.”

The student, who had  been assigned the book as part of his school’s STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) program was given a different books to read. However, the parent is still pushing to have the book removed from the curriculum district-wide. Other parents have taken issue with the attempt to remove the book, saying that banning the book would deprive their children of the opportunity to learn about important science and social issues. Doug Harris, Knox County Schools Board of Education chair stated, “Always, good people can disagree,” Harris said, “and I think on this book that’s probably the case.”

____

Flood, Alison. “Henrietta Lacks Biographer Rebecca Skloot Responds to US Parent over ‘porn’ Allegation.” The Guardian. 9 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

Habegger, Becca. “Author Weighs in on Knoxville Mom’s Push to Ban Book from Schools.” WBIR.com. 9 Sept. 2015. Web. 30 Sept. 2015.

 

The last time I checked, the bleak dystopian future was still firmly entrenched as the film fad genre over yesterday’s vampires and zombies. I’m looking at you, Divergent and Hunger Games.

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest none of these trilogies would be possible without the granddaddy of them all, George Orwell’s 1984. Written in 1948, this piece is required reading for high school seniors for the pop culture references alone, a la Big Brother and thought crime. You won’t be able to find your way out of an Orwellian abyss without it.

Pepper in references to this work and your modern-day conspiracy theory is half-written! Technological and poltical relevance almost 70 years later is some staying power, if not clairvoyance on the part of Orwell, who passed away in 1950.

1984 was banned in the former U.S.S.R., and challenged in 1981 in Florida on the grounds of being “pro-communist”, no doubt by the irony-impaired.

Last year, the American Library Association, along with the Banned Books Week planning committee, announced that Banned Books Week 2014 would have a thematic focus on comics and graphic novels. Even though we are now in Banned Books Week 2015, it is still important to focus on graphic novels and the censorship that happens to them because they are often clouded in an aura of mystery by those who don’t understand and those that don’t read them.

Some of you may be wondering what the difference is between a comic book and a graphic novel. I encourage you to think of a graphic novel as a format and not a genre, meaning that graphic novels encompass the same thing that the format of a book does, but just in a different format. A very simplified definition of a graphic novel can be found at the Get Graphic website where they say that graphic novels can be of any genre for any audience, but with all to most of the comic being done with pictures. Graphic novels can be fantasy, romance, horror, westerns, superheroes, fiction, non-fiction, and anything else you could possibly think of as a genre. Some people may like to interchange the phrase “comic book” for graphic novels, but that can conjure up the image of superheroes. Let’s just stay simple. Graphic novel = format.


Now that the description has been given, let’s delve into the fun part: figuring out what graphic novels have been banned and for what reasons. Every year, the American Library Association, also known as the ALA, releases a list of the top ten most frequently challenged books for that year. Further down on that page, there are more lists of banned books and the reasons why they are banned. (Check out this list put out by the CBLDF for Banned Books Week 2015 that lists 12 Challenged & Banned YA Graphic Novels.) In these descriptions, you will find references to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, the CBLDF, a non-profit organization that posts cases on their website of comic books that have been challenged, censored, banned, etc.


the complete maus

In Maus, Art Spiegelman writes about the struggles of Vladek Spiegelman, a Jewish survivor of Hitler’s regime, and his son, a cartoonist who is struggling to work with the story of his aging father. Going on around the backdrop of guilt and survival are also the things that happen in normal day-to-day life: the stories of unhappiness, routine, and squabbles that we all live through. In one part, the son is interviewing his dad about his experiences. In another part, Spiegelman is interpreting his father’s life as a graphic novel, which each different race being depicted as a different animal. This Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel has been challenged for being “anti-ethnic” and “unsuitable for younger readers”. It has also been removed from shelves in foreign countries for having a Nazi swastika on the cover.


captain underpantsThe Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey is a frequently banned/challenged series(the cover shown being the first in the series), so much so that it is number 13 on the top 100 list of banned/challenged books for 2000-2009. It has even been number 1 on the top 10 lists for many years. It is often challenged and/or banned for offensive language, anti-family content, sexually explicit, violence, or being unsuited for age group. In this book, Harold and George often get into hijinks that include turning their principal, Mr. Krupp, into Captain Underpants, so that he can defeat some kind of nefarious evil-doer that has descended upon the school. In case you are wondering why this book is featured on the graphic novel list, this book is filled with pictures and the boys are also working on their own comic strip, which sometimes takes up chunks of the book.


boneJeff Smith created Bone, a series of graphic novels, which, in the first of the series shown to the left, chronicles the lifes of three Bone cousins, Fone Bone, Phoney Bone, and Smiley Bone after they are run out of Boneville, their home, and are forced to find their way in a desert and then a subsequent valley. Smith spins humor, mystery, and adventure together into this story that people who have left home for the first time, people reminiscing, and especially kids will relate to as the Bones realize that everything now around them is totally different, overwhelming, and, of course, strange. The Bone series found itself on the top 10 list of frequently challenged books in 2013 for the following reasons: “political viewpoint, racism, and violence”.


dramaRaina Telgemeier has written many graphic novels that center around this age, but the one that causes the most issues in terms of banning and challenging is Drama. In this graphic novel, Callie, the main character, loves theater, but to her chagrin, she can’t sing. She is made set designer for this year’s production and has decided that this set for her middle school’s production of Moon over Mississippi is going to look amazing! As she is dealing with everything to do with the play, Callie also finds herself having to deal with the offstage and onstage drama generated by the actors that are chosen for the play. All around her relationships begin and end, while some fail to even start. This award-winning graphic novel was recently on the top ten list for 2014 for being “sexually explicit” and has also been challenged because of the inclusion of two gay characters.


stuck in the middleWhile the following book has yet to crack the top ten frequently challenged book lists, it has been pulled and challenged in libraries across the country. Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age is a collection put together from a wide variety of cartoonists detailing their own times in middle school. The point of this book is to show that while middle school and being thirteen is incredibly awkward and unpleasant, you will survive! The authors in this graphic novel are not afraid to deal with the nitty, gritty, uncomfortable topics that happen throughout middle school. This book has been pulled from two South Dakota middle schools and has been challenged in other towns as well for the following reasons: objectionable sexual, language, drug, and alcohol references. A few libraries allowed the book to be retained, but placed it in the professional collection, which requires students to obtain parental permission before they are allowed to check it out.


this one summerJillian and Mariko Tamiko created this New York times bestseller, Printz award Honor Book for excellence in young adult literature, and Caldecott Honor Book in 2014. This One Summer is about the story of Rose, whose family has vacationed at Awago Beach for as long as she can remember. There she is able to escape all of her troubles and truly slip into her refuge and summer getaway spot. Windy, her friend, is there as well, filling in as the little sister that Rose never had. Everything is perfect until this summer when Rose’s parents keep fighting, Rose notices that Windy is childish, and rose and Windy get things entangled in the drama of the older kids on the island. This graphic novel has been challenged for “age-inappropriate content”, an ultimate misinterpretation of the age requirements for the Caldecott Award, which is for books aimed at kids 14 and under, while This One Summer is aimed at kids 12+.


blanketsCraig Thompson wrote Blankets, a semi-autobiographical journey into his relationship with his brother, Phil, who he had to share a blanket with when he was younger, and his first girlfriend, Raina, who he also shared a blanket with. This graphic novel works to tell two entwined stories by flashing back to early experiences in Craig’s life while also pairing them with things that he is experiencing right now. This book dives into Craig’s upbringing in a religious family, how he handles his first love who he meets at a church camp, and also how he comes to terms with his religious beliefs as his life makes a whole bunch of changes. Raina’s family brings the added complication of Down Syndrome to their relationship while her parents are also dealing with a divorce. This book has been challenged because of allegedly obsence illustrations, depictions of sex and human body parts, inappropriate subject matter, and that the comic artwork would attract children who would then see the “pornographic” images.


the complete persepolisMarjane Satrapi wrote the award-winning graphic memoir, Persepolis, about her struggles growing up in Tehran. Marji spent most of her childhood growing up in a family not short on live during the Islamist Revolution. She quickly had to learn how to manage her private vs. her public life in Tehran. As her family encouraged her to speak her mind, she often landed in trouble, forcing her parents to ship her off to school in Austria. In Vienna, Marji dealt with her adolescence away from her family, only to return home to face both the good and the bad. In the end, she self-imposed an exile upon herself when she became a young adult. This graphic memoir was number 2 on the top ten list of 2014 and has been banned and challenged for many reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint, graphic depictions, and also politically, racially, and socially offensive.

Here are some news articles that talk about Persepolis being banned. Many more are out there as well.


fun home

Now we’ve arrived at the graphic novel that has been ripping up the headlines recently in terms of people trying to ban it. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel is an autobiographical memoir that deals with Bechdel’s everyday life in an unnerving and darkly funny story about her family. Alison’s father, a man of many different talents and jobs, is a distant parent and a closeted homosexual. Alison yearns for her father, but as the stories or her brother and her running rampant through the “fun home,” also known as the funeral home, can attest, their relationship works through their sharing books. This book has been banned/challenged for LGBTQ themes and morality themes.


saga

 

 

Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples is a sort of modern retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Alana, a winged soldier from planet Windfall, and Marko, a horned former prisoner of war from Landfall’s moon, are both on the run from their respective militaries. They escaped to give birth to their daughter, but now everyone wants them dead. Sheer luck seems to be the only way the family has survived and managed to escape into the galaxy. The Saga series is number 6 on the list of top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 and was banned for the following reasons in 2014: anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.


 

killing jokeYou may be wondering why there aren’t any superhero graphic novels on this list. Let me introduce to you Alan Moore’s Batman: The Killing Joke with Brian Bolland as the illustrator. This graphic novel was released as a a stand-alone by DC Comics in 1988. In this graphic novel, Bolland depicts the Joker’s brutal torture of Jim Gordon and his daughter Barbara. The psychological and physical damage done upon Gordon and Barbara are illustrated perfectly in this graphic novel and prove to forever alter the continuity of DC’s Batman universe as the shooting of Barbara Gordon leaves her paralyzed and ultimately leads her to becoming the Oracle. Alan Moore has had many graphic novels challenged/banned and Batman: The Killing Joke followed for the following reasons: it “advocates rape and violence”.

Banned Books Week

 

What are Banned Books? Books that have been removed from schools or libraries.

Why are books banned? The top three reasons for banned books are as follows:

1. The material was considered to be “sexually explicit.”

2. The material contained “offensive language.”

3. The material was “unsuited for any age group.”

Why do we have Banned Books Week? Founded in 1982 and celebrated annually during the last week in September, it is an awareness campaign for the Freedom to Read.

How can you participate in Banned Books Week?

Many local libraries will be participating in Banned Books Week by either holding programs or creating displays. The Bettendorf Public Library will be hosting Banned Song Fest on Monday, September 28 at 6:30 pm. Local musicians will preform banned songs and music styles in honor of Banned Books Week. At the Rock Island Public Library local librarians and writers will read from banned books on Tuesday, September 29 at 6:00 pm. The Davenport Public Library will have displays at each location where you can learn about and check out a variety of banned books.

Banned Books

The top ten challenged books of 2014

The 100 most banned/challenged books from 2000-2009

 

the absolutely true diary The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is currently ranked number 1 for the most challenged books of 2014 according to The American Library Association. While this book is considered YA fiction, it is based on the real life events of Native American Author Sherman Alexie. I read this book while attending graduate school as part of a multicultural literature course.  The book is about Arnold, an incredibly smart Native American boy living on a reservation. He is given the opportunity to attend an all white school outside of the reservation. This book highlights not only some of the struggles of Native Americans living on reservations, but dives deep into what it took for this character to break away from his life on the reservation. When I finished reading the book I immediately researched the author. It was shocking to read that this work is semi-autobiographical, but still all the more important that this book remain on shelves. Anyone should have the opportunity to read this book. Why is the book challenged/banned? The book contains themes and elements of alcohol abuse, sex, violence, bullying, and racial issues.
go ask aliceGo Ask Alice was published in 1971 and for many years was thought to be the anonymous diary of a troubled teenager that became addicted to drugs. It was later revealed to have been written by Beatrice Sparks, a psychologist, only partially based on one of her patient’s diaries. Since this revelation, the book is considered a work of fiction. I read this books several years ago as I was making my way through a list of top 100 books that everyone should read. While the book does tend to be over the top in certain circumstances, it does include so much of the feelings and thoughts experienced by young women. Why is this book challenged/banned? Despite being published over 40 years ago, the book has never been out of print and still remains high up in the list of challenged/banned books. The book contains drug use, sex, and offensive language.

 

 

Here at the Davenport Public Library, we are celebrating our freedom to read during Banned Books Week by reading frequently challenged and banned books.  From September 22nd until the 28th, we encourage you to stop by one of the DPL locations and pick up one of the books that have been banned or challenged at libraries across the country.  We will have many of the books on display, and as always, stop by the reference desk and we’ll help you find the book you need.  You might be surprised to find one of your favorites on the list.

The 10 most frequently challenged books of 2012:

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Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher, Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini, Looking for Alaska by John Green, Scary Stories Series by Alvin Schwartz, The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls, Beloved by Toni Morrison

This classic children’s novel has been weathering the storm of censorship and controversy for 4 decades now. Jean Craighead George won the 1973 Newbery Medal for her novel, Julie of the Wolves, which tells the story of a Yupik Eskimo girl called Miyax (Julie to her pen pal in San Francisco) who survives alone on the Arctic tundra by communicating with a wolf pack. The outside world has wrought changes on Julie’s culture, and when she is forced to choose between an arranged marriage and a harsh, desperate flight across the wild tundra, she runs away. She eventually learns the language of the wolves and becomes a member of the pack, a process that’s terrifying and exhilarating in equal measure.

Julie’s journey of survival and self discovery has resonated with young and old readers since its publication in the seventies, despite being challenged for including violence and being “unsuited to age group.” To learn more about this book, censorship, and Banned Books Week, check out the ALA Banned Books Week website.