Booklr Questions – What is your favorite Banned Book?

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Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. It highlights the value of free and open access to information. This year, Banned Book week is being celebrated from September 27th − October 3rd. In honor of Banned Book Week, we’re having a special Banned Book edition of Booklr Questions.

Did you know that many of the classic novels that are now required reading in high schools were once banned books? As a matter of fact, 3 of the top 5 most banned books were required reading in my high school.

  1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker

We read The Great Gatsby as part of American English in my junior year, The Catcher in the Rye as part of my sophomore year Advanced English curriculum, and To Kill a Mockingbird in my Sophomore year as well.

Of course, it isn’t just classic novels that have made the list for being banned. The ALA (American Library Association) keeps track of the most challenged books each year.  In 2014, many of those banned books were popular YA and children’s reads including:

  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
  • Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
    Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
  • And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
  • The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
  • It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
    Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”

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And that brings me to this week’s Booklr Question —

What is your favorite Banned Book?

My favorite banned book(s) will always be the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.  When these books first came out, I remember hearing how some schools were banning this books because they were about witchcraft.  I always though that was strange.  Yes, the books are about witches and wizards, but these were books that we actually wanted to read.  I’m glad I grew up somewhere where we had enough sense not to take books away from children.  It gave me a connection to a fandom that is important to my life, even now, 8 years after the last book was published.

Do you have a favorite banned book?

2 thoughts on “Booklr Questions – What is your favorite Banned Book?”

  1. I’ve never really thought about banned books as such, because where I grew up one or another was always being taken out of the school library, only to be reinstated a year or so later. (Would you believe, “The Egypt Game”?) Of the ones you mention, I have to say The Colour Purple is my favourite. I re-read it whenever I need to get interested in quilting again, perhaps because sewing is Celie’s creative outlet, perhaps because quilts figure large in the book in one way and another. I’ve also read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and enjoyed it, though I have found that unfortunately his other book did nothing for me–and nor did Walker’s other books that I have sampled.

    1. I’d actually never heard of The Egypt Game. It looks interesting. I often feel like the books people ban are the best books- except 50 Shades of Gray – they can keep that poorly written work.

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