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Ten Years of Banned Books

16 October, 2007

Banned Book Week, which has been running in the USA since 1982, celebrates freedom from censorship with regard to our reading.

Last year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, a section of the American Library Assoc, received over 500 ‘challenges’. Challenges are formal, written complaints requesting that a book or other material be removed from the shelves of school or general libraries because of content or appropriateness. The Office’s director said for each reported incident, four or five requests are likely to remain unreported.

Common grounds for challenges include: homosexuality, anti-family, unsuited to age group, sexual content, drugs, offensive language, occult/Satanism,
violence, insensitivity, sexually explicit.

Listed below are some well-known books that attracted the most challenges in 2006, or were on the list of the most frequently challenged books of 1990-2000. It’s worthwhile knowing that most challenges were from parents, with regard to books in schools or school libraries.

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

Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Sex by Madonna

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The Witches by Roald Dahl

Blubber by Judy Blume

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Cujo by Stephen King

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

Ordinary People by Judith Guest

American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Native Son by Richard Wright

Carrie by Stephen King

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Private Parts by Howard Stern

Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

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