Send us your story of a banned book that has influenced you personally, perhaps one you loved growing up or one that challenged you with a new perspective. We’ll be posting collections of these reviews from faculty, staff, and students on this blog from September 27-October 3.
‘Not sure what you’d want to share? You can find examples of other staff and faculty contributions from previous years in our Banned Books Week archive.
You can send your reviews to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; use the subject line “Banned Books Review” and we’ll post your contribution.
Banned Books Week 2015: September 27−October 3
What is Banned Books Week?
Each year, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association (ALA) records hundreds of attempts by individuals and groups to have books removed from library shelves and from classrooms.
Which Books Have Been Banned?
There are several different ways to calculate what are the “top banned books,” but most rely on reports of formal challenges, which are documented requests to remove materials from schools or libraries, thereby restricting access to them by others.
How do I find a favorite banned book?
The OIF has been collecting data on book challenges only since 1990, but they’ve broken down their research into several different lists:
- 2000-2009 – top 100 most frequently challenged books
- 1990-1999 – top 100 most frequently challenged books
- 30 year timeline – banned books week since 1982
- Banned / Challenged Classics – see top 10 below with more links
2014 Top 10
From the ALA, here are the top 10 banned books of 2014 – usually censored for challenging “traditional” politics, sexuality, or religion. Some represent difficult situations or include “offensive language,” and many are considered “unsuited for an age group” (even if they’re picture books designed for young children).
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
- Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
- And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
- The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
- It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
- Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
- Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
- A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
- Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Top 10 Classics
Classics are also often targeted for their content and language. You can find a full list of frequently challenged classics on the ALA website or review the reasons why these classics are frequently challenged.
- The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
- The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- Ulysses, by James Joyce
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison
- The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
- 1984, by George Orwell
- Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov