Banned Books Week

It’s the final days of 27th annual Banned Books Week here in the US. Created by the American Library Association, the event was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries.

Since 2001 bans on 3,736 books and other materials have been requested. And according to the ALA, there were more than 500 “challenges” to specific books in schools, stores, and libraries reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2008.

In solidarity with this student who is running an banned book library out of an empty locker at her school, I thought I would post this list of the top ten most challenged books for each year back to 2001. A link to their Amazon page is included so you can collect them all or buy copies for your local library or school.

2008

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group


2007

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
    Reasons:  anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, sexism, and unsuited to Age Group
  2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
    Reasons: offensive Language, sexually explicity, violence
  3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit
  4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman 
    Reason: religious viewpoint 
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 
    Reason: racism
  6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
    Reason: sexually explicit
  9. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie Harris 
    Reasons: sex education and sexually explicit
  10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

2006

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell 
    Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, and unsuited to age group
  2. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar 
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group
  3. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  4. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
    Reasons: anti-family, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  5. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexual explicitly, and unsuited to age group
  6. Scary Stories(series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons:  insensitivity, occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, and violence
  7. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher 
    Reasons: homosexuality and offensive language
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 
    Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  9. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicity, and violence

2005

  1. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion, and being unsuited to age group
  2. Forever, by Judy Blume 
    Reasons: sexual content and offensive language
  3. The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger 
    Reasons: sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group
  4. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
    Reasons: sexual content and offensive language
  5. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher 
    Reasons: racism and offensive language
  6. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds 
    Reason: sexual content
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones 
    Reasons: sexual content and being unsuited to age group
  8. Captain Underpants (Series), by Dav Pilkey 
    Reasons: anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence
  9. Crazy Lady!, by Jane Leslie Conly 
    Reason: offensive language
  10. It’s So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families, by Robie H. Harris
    Reasons: sex education and sexual content

2004

  1. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
    Reasons: offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence.
  2. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Meyers 
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, and violence
  3. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael A. Bellesiles
    Reasons: inaccurate and political viewpoint
  4. Captain Underpants (Series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, and sexually explicit 
  6. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, and sexually explicit
  7. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak 
    Reasons: nudity, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  8. King & King, by Linda deHaan 
    Reason: homosexuality
  9. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
    Reasons: homosexuality, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, and violence

2003

  1. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: sexual content, using offensive language, and being unsuited to age group
  2. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 
    Reasons: occult/satanism
  3. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
    Reason: offensive language
  4. Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael Bellesiles
    Reason: inaccuracy
  5. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 
    Reason: racism, sexual content, offensive language, drugs, and violence
  6. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 
    Reason: drugs
  7. It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie Harris 
    Reason: homosexuality, nudity, sexual content, and sex education
  8. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier 
    Reason: offensive language and sexual content
  9. King & King, by Linda de Haan 
    Reason: homosexuality
  10. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reason: occult/satanism and offensive language

2002

  1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 
    Reasons: occult/Satanism and violence
  2. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  5. Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton 
    Reason: offensive language
  6. Captain Underpants (Series), by Dav Pilkey 
    Reasons: offensive language and unsuited to age group
  7. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 
    Reason: offensive language
  8. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
    Reasons: occult/Satanism, offensive language, and violence
  9. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor 
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
    Reasons: unsuited to age group and violence

2001

  1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 
    Reasons: anti-family, occult/Satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  2. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, unsuited to age group, and violence
  3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
  4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  5. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene 
    Reasons: offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
  6. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
    Reasons: offensive language and unsuited to age group
  7. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
    Reasons: offensive language and sexually explicit
  8. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 
    Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
  9. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 
    Reason: offensive language
  10. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

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