Banned Book Week, first held in 1982, and organized by the American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom, defends the freedom to read and protects reader’s rights.Individuals and groups challenge books. When a book is challenged, an individual or group attempts to remove or restrict a title, based upon the objections of that person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges concern librarians, because they are not simply a person expressing a point of view. The person or group wants to remove the material from the library or school curriculum, therefore restricting access to others. The Office of Intellectual Freedom supports libraries and schools faced with challenges to titles in their library of curriculum.
You might be surprised by some of the titles banned. The King James version of the Bible has been challenged! A few of the many works that are common titles today include Harry Potter, Alice and Wonderland, Grapes of Wrath, Catcher in the Rye, James and the Giant Peach, Black Beauty, Canterbury Tales,Frankenstein, Hamlet,Dr. Zhivago, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 are:
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time India, 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
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
- A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard
- Drama by Raina Telgemeire
For the Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books Lists of the 21st century, click here:
There were 5,099 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom during 2000 – 2009.Of those challenges:
1,577 were due to “sexually explicit” material.
1,291 challenges were due to “offensive language.”
989 challenges due to materials deemed “unsuited to age group.”
619 challenged due to “violence,” and
361 challenges due to “homosexuality.” Most of the challenges are for materials in public libraries and in school classrooms. Most challenges are initiated by parents.
This week is Banned Books Week. Celebrate our ability to read the books we want and the protection of the American Library Association, Office of Intellectual Freedom to prevent censorship of books and other materials.