Banned Book Week 2013

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 ” The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame.”

~Oscar Wilde

This quote by Oscar Wilde is very telling, especially since Banned Book Week has just come and gone.  Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. Hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books.

Think about all the books you have read over your lifetime.  Some were required for school, and you hated them then, but years later come to understand the point of them and they are now on your list of favorites.

The Library of Congress has an exhibit on Books that Shaped America. On that list are books I have read, and have dog-eared pages of, such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Cat in the Hat, Catcher in the Rye, Charlotte’s Web, The Feminine Mystique, Howl, The Joy of Cooking.

The 2012 list of top 10 banned books are:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

However, in the past eleven years, the following books have also made the banned book list.

The Hunger Games (2011), Brave New World (2010 & 2011), To Kill A Mockingbird (2009 & 2011), Harry Potter (2001-2003).  The Captain Underpants series has made the list in 2002, 2004 and 2005 as well.

Books are meant to open your mind and expand your horizons.  Many of these books I have read myself, have read to my children, and are in the school curriculum.  I can’t imagine the world without Dr Seuss- his Lorax book has been banned in parts of the country;  Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451; and William Golding’s Lord of the Flies.

Keep an open dialogue about what your kids read, and keep their imaginations going by reading to them.

Links to more information can be found at:



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