Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Banned Book Week 2014

Banned Book Week is an annual event centered celebrating the freedom to read without restriction. We sometimes think of censorship as a thing of the past, but every year the American Library Association reports hundreds of books being challenged in libraries and schools across the nation. In 2013, there were challenges to everything from Fifty Shades of Grey to Captain Underpants (Seriously? Captain Underpants?). 

Every year when Banned Book Week rolls around I can't help but picture the events Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (which is, poetically, one of the many banned books). I picture peoples' houses being raided, novels ripped from secret shelves, the smoke from the book bonfires ripping through the night sky. Dramatic though that image may be, it's what my mind conjures up every time I hear of another attempt at book censorship. 

Here's just a few of some of our most beloved stories that have been previously challenged: 
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Catch-22 - Joseph Heller 
The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury 
The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins 
Gone with the Wind - Margaret Mitchell 
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald 
Harry Potter - J. K. Rowling 
The Scarlet Letter - Nathaniel Hawthorne 
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee 

Imagine what life would be like without some of these amazing classics. So read a banned book, check out the Banned Book Week calendar of events here, blog, tweet #FreetoRead14 or find some small way to help fight censorship this week (September 21-27)!


  1. It's the result of both fear and laziness. I say the latter because it's easier for parents to just eliminate all the potential bad than actually get involved in their kids' lives.

  2. Sadly, even today publishers worry about books being too edgy. It's amazing the books that have been banned. I love Fahrenheit 451--scary how much our world resembles that one, especially with the big wall-sized TVs.

  3. I never quite believed in banning books. I think we shelter children a little too much, and that many kids can either 1) deal with this material or 2) come across it and realize they can't. Personally, I believe parents are just scandalized by the topics here because they see them as intense for a child even if the child doesn't. Things happen out there (like topless beaches in Where's Waldo - a banned book) and books teach them how to deal.

  4. I hate, and I meant hate, censorship in any form. It is a crime that people have this type of power. How dare they tell me what I am allowed to read and not read. If I want to read Marquis De Sade's Juliette, I will.It is my freedom to do so and freedom i hold dear. I get this from my mom who did witness book burnings. She grew up in Germany during Hitler years and, she recalled how, at first, The Nazis banned pornography and what they deemed as bad(I am certain jewish authors were in there). The average person didn't want their children to be able to read about sex and see explicit photos so it seemed agreeable but once that power was in force, it went to many other great works. She always stated it starts with what people feel is the proper thing to do but power corrupts and before one knows it, beautiful works are banned. If the cost of censorship is one's freedom then censorship should be outlawed. Teach the parents what is good and not until the child can make their own decision. If we have the freedom to not read the book then it is our choice. My mom's words were profound especially since she had to hide her books. She even saw people's photo albums being burned because the nazis felt something in the photos was wrong for them to see-how sad. Later she saw the same thing from the Russians since she lived in East Germany after the war before she escaped

  5. So can't imagine not having read these books. Many of them I loved. Sad how people get so bent out of shape and work on banning them.

  6. Captain Underpants. I'm shaking my head. A lot of my faves are on your list and I recently picked up the Hunger Games.