Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Banned Books Week

Okay, so I didn't really get it together to do a big series of posts- or even a big post- about Banned Books Week, which is this week, but here's a little meme to highlight some of the most-challenged books of the 1990s, followed by my thoughts.

You can see the series I did on Banned Books Week last year if you're interested.

For my money, the best way to observe the week is to buy or borrow (and read!) a banned/challenged book, to educate ourselves about what gets challenged, think about why and show that there is a demand for these books. So, with that in mind, this is the ALA's list of the 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990–1999.

Bold the ones you've read, and italicize those that you are planning to read. And of course, if you have reviewed any, feel free to link!

Scary Stories (Series), by Alvin Schwartz
Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
Forever, by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Goosebumps (Series), by R.L. Stine
A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
Sex, by Madonna
Earth’s Children (Series), by Jean M. Auel
The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
The Witches, by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
The Goats, by Brock Cole
The Stupids (Series), by Harry Allard
Anastasia Krupnik (Series), by Lois Lowry
Final Exit, by Derek Humphry
Blubber, by Judy Blume
Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton
The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
Deenie, by Judy Blume
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden
Beloved, by Toni Morrison
The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz
Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
Cujo, by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
Ordinary People, by Judith Guest
American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras
The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
Crazy Lady, by Jane Conly
Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan
Fade, by Robert Cormier
Guess What?, by Mem Fox
Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday
Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen
On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende
Jack, by A.M. Homes
Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge
Family Secrets, by Norma Klein
Mommy Laid An Egg, by Babette Cole
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
Where Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle
The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
Carrie, by Stephen King
The Dead Zone, by Stephen King
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
Private Parts, by Howard Stern
Where’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford
Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
Little Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman
Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
Sex Education, by Jenny Davis
Jumper, by Steven Gould
Christine, by Stephen King
The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene
That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy
The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain
Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

One last thing. There's been some flutter around the blogosphere this week about Banned Books Week in a less positive sense- some folks posting that it's not a big deal, censorship isn't a big issue in the United States anymore, it's all just a bunch of self-congratulation, etc.

Book challenges are still an important issue in this country, and they happen all the time. Pick up a copy of American Libraries, the ALA monthly, and read their column entitled "Censorship Watch" for current challenges. Or visit ala.org. Click here for an interactive map showing recent challenges in different parts of the United States.

So what if it is a little bit of self-congratulation? Should we just do nothing? Should we not talk about it at all? I'd like to know what the naysayers would suggest as an alternative.

All I can say is, taking your freedom for granted is a great way to lose it.


Ana S. said...

"All I can say is, taking your freedom for granted is a great way to lose it."

I completely agree. And it's ironic that some of those banned books are books that show precisely this (like The Handmaid's Tale).

Trisha said...

Ah, I'm reading the Handmaid's Tale right now and absolutely loving it. People are so scared of ideas and that is very very sad.

As you bold and link for this list, you should consider joining the year long banned books challenge I'm hosting!

Melissa said...

I've read quite a few of these, but none since I started my blog. Some of my faves from my younger years are on this list!

Katie said...

Ugh, the whole banned books things really grinds my gears. People can be so narrow minded.

Zibilee said...

What's really sad is that the list is so long. I hate the fact that even one book is banned, let alone a huge list like that. I just have a hard time with anyone telling me what can and cannot be read. Thans for the eye-opening post.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I completely agree with your last statement. Complacency is what FRIGGING got our country into the FRIGGING mess we are in now.. I can't stand to listen to people who say "oh that doesn't concern me." Well you better stand up for others because when it's something you care about, you need someone standing behind you!

ImageNations said...

Thanks BB it is good to know this. I have to work on it and include some in my list of 100 books to be read in five years.

Anonymous said...

Great list!

Never let go of your freedom for any reason. Keep cognizant, always.

Anonymous said...

The list just blows me away...my Judy Blume books! My gosh - they are part of what made me fall in love with reading as a kid!