Posted in Banned Books

Banned Books Week’s Believe It Or Not!

banned books week

September 21-27, 2014 is National Banned Books Week, a week celebrating the freedom to read and remembering how censorship infringes on intellectual freedom.  Ever wonder why some books are banned or challenged? Check out a small sampling below…

charlotte's webCharlotte’s Web by E.B. White banned or challenged because:

  • in 2006, parents in Kansas because “humans are the highest level of God’s creation and are the only creatures that can communicate vocally. Showing lower life forms with human abilities is sacrilegious and disrespectful to God.”
  • ranked 13 out of 100 most banned and challenged classics

origin of speciesOn the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin banned or challenged because:

  • Darwin was accused of “dethroning God by challenging the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis”
  • continuously banned in Tennessee from 1925-1967

harry potterHarry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling banned or challenged because:

  • 1999-2002 Harry Potter topped the list of most banned and challenged books in the United States because it portrays wizardry and magic
  • in 1999 alone, Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s Stone was challenged and/or banned 26 times in 16 states

speakSpeak by Laurie Halse Anderson banned or challenged because:

  • some critics have described a pivotal rape scene as “child pornography” (although they admit to having never read the book)
  • challenged in a Sarasota, FL school for emotional aftermath of rape, bullying, depressions, sexual harassment, and family dysfunction in 2013. Currently under review at the school district level.

ulyssesUlysses by James Joyce banned or challenged because:

  • “it might cause American readers to harbor impure and lustful thoughts”, includes obscene language and obscenity
  • banned in the United States by customs censors in 1922
  • 500 copies were burned when an attempt was made to import the book
  • the ban on importation was finally lifted in 1933 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

Silent-SpringSilent Spring by Rachel Carson

  • Velsicol Chemical Corp. tried to prevent the book’s publication and stop the New Yorker from publishing the text in serial format
  • alleged that Carson was “innocent dupe of a communist conspiracy to undermine the superiority of the Western World, and reduce us to starvation”

Want to know more about Banned Books Week or see what else has been banned or challenged?

Swing into the library and READ BANNED BOOKS!


Anderson, Laurie Halse. “Ever Wonder How the Mind of a Book Banner Works?”, 2013.

Bald, Margaret. Literature Suppressed on Religious Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

“Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the Twentieth Century.”, 2014.

Stein, Karen F. Rachel Carson: Challenging Authors. Rotterdam: SensePublishers, 2012. eBook Collection, EBSCOhost.

Sova, Dawn B. Literature Suppressed on Sexual Grounds. Facts On File; New York, 2006.

Posted in Banned Books, Books We Find Interesting, Books We Like

Celebrate Banned Books Week September 30th-October 6th

Freadom BannerBanned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community –- librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types –- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. -from the American Library Association

LRC Staff Favorite Banned Books:

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (Heather): Banned/challenged because “talking animals are confusing to children”

Ulysses by James Joyce (John): Banned/challenged for vulgarity. Everyone should have the same right to struggle through this beautiful but exceedingly complex novel!

Runner up: The Lorax by Dr. Suess (John): Banned/challenged because it allegedly “turned children against the logging industry” by portraying it in a negative light.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum (Bill): Banned/challenged because it contains the depiction of a “good witch” (“everyone knows that witches are bad”) and also for its supposedly socialist values.

Runner-up: the dictionary (Bill):  Yes, some dictionaries have been banned/challenged.  Why?  Because they contain definitions of sexual words.

Top 10 Challenged Books by Year: Yearly list of the most frequently banned books as compiled by the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom

Banned Books Week 30th Anniversary: Some interesting info regarding resources, quotes, and library celebrations for Banned Book Week

Banned Books Week Home: Includes the Virtual Readout!

Books That Shaped America: the Library of Congress list of important novels “written by Americans” and that “have shaped our lives”–Note how many also appear on the Banned Books list!