So next week, September 30 – October 6, at the library we will be celebrating Banned Books Week. What is Banned Book Week you ask? Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read whatever you want to read. Did you know that many books have been challenged or banned by libraries? A “challenged” book means that someone somewhere has objected to it being in a library. A “banned” book means that it was removed from a library shelf. The reasons are usually on religious, political, sexual, or social grounds. A lot of these libraries are school libraries but some are public libraries. Banning books is taken very seriously because it is a form of censorship. We have a display of several Banned Books for you to choose from!
So you may now be wondering what are some of these banned books. I have some examples for you and the reasons for being challenged or banned.
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger – It was objected to first in 1960 and 29 other times through the years with the last one being 2009. The reason being it’s foul language and sexual references.
Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck – It was burned at East St. Louis, IL Public Library in 1939. It was challenged and banned several times since then with the latest being at Union City High School, TN, in 1993.
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder – In 1993, it was challenged by parents of students at Lafourche Parish Elementary Schools in Thibodaux, LA, for being “offensive to Indians”. The school board denied the request and the book was retained. In 1994 the book was banned in Sturgis, SD schools for the same reason as cited in the Thidodaux schools.
Harry Potter series, J. K. Rowling – In 2007, a pastor at St. Joseph’s catholic school in Wakefield, MA, removed the books because he felt the themes of witches and sorcery were inappropriate and it was his duty to protect the weak.
Anne Frank: the Story of a Young Girl – It was challenged in 2010 at the Culpeper County, VA Public School. A parent requested that her daughter not be required to read the book aloud because she claimed it had sexual material and homosexual themes. Later the school decided to keep the book in the school system but it would be taught at different grade level.
For more information on Banned Books, check out these websites: