Tag Archives: intellectual freedom

Constitution Day: Celebrating Banned Books Week!

Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same

ALA's Banned Books Week poster for 2010

Each year, the last week of September is designated Banned Books Week. During this time, we celebrate our democratic freedom to read whatever we want to read. This year September 25 to October 2 marks BBW’s 29th anniversary.

According to the ALA’s Banned Books Week web site: “BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them.”

What is the difference between a challenged book and a banned book?

According to the American Library Association, a challenge is “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.”

Below is a list of frequently challenged books.  While all of the books and other media on this list were challenged by various organizations and individuals, people concerned with intellectual freedom were able to uphold and maintain public access to most of them.

Banned and Challenged Books

A wrinkle in time / Madeleine L’Engle

Absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian / by Sherman Alexie.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn / Mark Twain.

Adventures of Tom Sawyer / Twain, Mark

Always running : la vida loca, gang days in L.A. / by Luis J. Rodriguez.

The bell jar / Sylvia Plath.

Beloved : a novel / Toni Morrison.

Black boy; a record of childhood and youth. Illustrated by Ashley Bryan.

Black Hawk down : a story of modern war / Mark Bowden.

Bless me, Ultima / Rudolfo A. Anaya.

Bluest eye / Toni Morrison.

Brave new world / Aldous Huxley.

Candide; or, Optimism: a new translation, backgrounds, criticism.

Canterbury Tales / Chaucer, Geoffrey

La Casa de los espíritus / Isabel Allende.

Catch-22, a novel. / Heller, Joseph.

Catcher in the rye / J.D. Salinger.

Cat’s Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut

Chocolate war / Robert Cormier.

Color purple / Alice Walker.

The diary of a young girl / Anne Frank.

Fahrenheit 451 / Ray Bradbury.

Grapes of wrath / John Steinbeck.

Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald.

Grendel [by] John Gardner.

The handmaid’s tale / Margaret Atwood

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets  / Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter & the Goblet of Fire / Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix / Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban / Rowling, J.K.

Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone / Rowling, J.K.

I know why the caged bird sings / Maya Angelou.

James and the giant peach : a children’s story / Roald Dahl

Kite runner / Khaled Hosseini.

Lolita / Vladimir Nabokov.

Lovely bones : a novel / Alice Sebold.

Lord of the flies / William Golding.

Lord of the rings / J.R.R. Tolkien.

Lysistrata / Aristophanes

My brother Sam is dead / James Lincoln Collier & Christopher Collier.

Native Son / Wright, Richard

Nineteen eighty-four / George Orwell.

Of mice and men / John Steinbeck.

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest / Ken Kesey

A prayer for Owen Meany : a novel / John Irving

Roll of thunder, hear my cry / Mildred D. Taylor

Satanic verses / Salman Rushdie.

The scarlet letter

Slaughterhouse-Five / Vonnegut, Kurt

Snow Falling on Cedars / David Guterson

Song of Solomon / Toni Morrison

Sons and lovers by D. H. Lawrence.

Sun also rises / Ernest Hemingway.

A time to kill / John Grisham

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Ulysses / James Joyce

The upstairs room / Johanna Reiss.

Reference Books: Reference Collection, Plaza East

Banned books : 1994 resource guide / Robert P. Doyle.

Literature suppressed on religious grounds / Margaret Bald;

Literature suppressed on sexual grounds / Dawn B. Sova

Literature suppressed on social grounds / Dawn B. Sova

Electronic Books: access from a computer

The awakening, and selected stories [electronic resource] / by Kate Chopin

Candide, or, Optimism [electronic resource] / Voltaire ; translated by Burton Raffel

Fanny Hill : memoirs of a woman of pleasure [electronic resource] / John Cleland

Lady Chatterley’s Lover [electronic resource] / D.H. Lawrence.

Lysistrata [electronic resource] / Aristophanes

Outspoken [electronic resource]: free speech stories / Nan Levinson.

Scarlet letter [electronic resource] / Nathaniel Hawthorne.

Ulysses [electronic resource] / James Joyce

Banned in the U.S.A. [electronic resource]: a reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries/Herbert N. Foerstel.

Video/DVD – Banned Books Turned Into Movies: Media Collection

Clockwork orange [videorecording].

Color purple [videorecording] /.

Fahrenheit 451 / Ray Bradbury.

Gone with the wind [videorecording].

Naked lunch [videorecording].

One flew over the cuckoo’s nest [videorecording].

Snow Falling on Cedars [videorecording]

To kill a mockingbird [videorecording].


Banned and/or Challenged Books: Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century

American Library Association Banned Books Week

The Online Books Page: Banned Books Online

Beacon for Freedom of Expression

Banned Classic Literature


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