As readers, we may often find ourselves overwhelmed with enthusiastic book recommendations; however, what’s better than reading books that people insist you should read? That’s right! Books that someone says you shouldn’t! BANNED BOOKS. Aren’t they the best? Usually books that have been frequently banned or challenged contain valuable themes and commentaries on society. Personally, I can’t help but giggle or scoff whenever I see some of the reasons why books have been challenged. Everything from foul language, to “brainwashing,” it seems that there will always be silly reasons for people to try and restrict the knowledge and lessons one can gain from reading a good book.
As you may or may not know, this week (Sept. 25 – Oct. 1) is banned books week! In celebration of our right to read, I have a couple of entries I would like to share. As you can see, this post is titled “Part One,” and right now I’d simply like to share a list of 30 banned books with reasons why they have been challenged. Hopefully this list can be of some help to you if you are trying to decide what you would like to read this week. Some of these books are among my favourites, and like I said above, the reasons why they have been banned might shock you. I mean what’s wrong with Little Women or Dr. Seuss? Keep reading to find out! Without further ado, here is a big ol’ list of books to read if you’re feeling a little rebellious this week 😉
Catcher in the Rye: J.D. Salinger –> Why was it banned?: Vulgar language, immorality, and sexuality including a scene with a prostitute.
Forever: Judy Blume –> Why was it banned?: Sexuality. Tells the story of a high school girl’s loss of virginity.
The Golden Compass: Philip Pullman –> Why was it banned?: The Catholic Church has condemned it as promoting atheism. It has also been deemed anti-religious because it speaks against blindly following a religion.
Eleanor & Park: Rainbow Rowell –> Why was it banned?: It has been considered obscene because of its language and its depiction of abuse.
Lord of the Flies: William Golding –> Why was it banned?: Violence, language, and its uncomfortable exploration of human nature (good/evil)
The Harry Potter Series: J.K. Rowling –> Why was it banned?: Religious groups have protested the series because of magic, wizardry, and the glorification of witchcraft.
Bridge to Terabithia: Katherine Paterson –> Why was it banned?: Offensive language, scenes of witchcraft, it depicts children disobeying authority, and death.
James and the Giant Peach: Roald Dahl –> Why was it banned?: Violence, language and disobedience.
The Witches: Roald Dahl –> Why was it banned?: It has been viewed as sexist because only women can be witches, violence, and devalues the life of a child.
The Chocolate War: Robert Cormier –>Why was it banned?: Language, violence, resisting authority and sexuality.
A Wrinkle in Time: Madeleine L’Engle –> Why was it banned?: Some groups believe that it “undermines the Christian worldview” with its mystical elements.
The Giver: Lois Lowery –> Why was it banned?: Some see it as an endorsement for killing due to its depiction of euthanasia and suicide.
The Satanic Verses: Salman Rushdie –> Why was it banned?: Religious controversy die to battle between God and the devil, uses magical realism. Salman Rushdie actually had to go into hiding to avoid being killed!
The Grapes of Wrath: John Steinbeck –> Why was it banned?: Obscenity. Back in the day, landowners did not want the treatment of their workers to be publicized. It was also seen as unflattering to Californians.
The Lorax: Dr. Suess –> Why was it banned?: Some groups believe this beloved children’s book to be an unfair portrayal of the logging industry.
The Da Vinci Code: Dan Brown –> Why was it banned?: The Catholic church banned it for being anti-christian in its depiction of the relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene.
1984: George Orwell –>Why was it banned?: Funnily enough, 1984 was banned in the U.S.S.R. because it was viewed as being against Stalinism, but it has also been banned because some view this dystopian classic as a pro-communist sentiment.
The Face on the Milk Carton: Caroline B. Cooney –> Why was it banned?: Sexual content, challenging authority, and some view is as unsuited for its target age group.
The Great Gatsby: F. Scott Fitzgerald –> Why was it banned?: Vulgar language, sexual content, and depiction of partying.
The Kite Runner: Khaled Hosseini –> Why was it banned?: Violence, graphic depiction of rape, vulgar language.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl: Anne Frank –> Why was it banned?: Positive depiction of Jews, and sexual content.
To Kill A Mockingbird: Harper Lee –> Why was it banned?: Profanity including racial slurs, plot contains rape, and conflicts with “community values.”
Monster: Walter Dean Myers –> Why was it banned?: Vulgar language, violence, and sexual content.
Of Mice and Men: John Steinbeck –> Why was it banned?: Vulgar language, racism, and violence. People also condemn this book because they say it promotes euthanasia.
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret: Judy Blume –>Why was it banned?: This book about a girl growing up has been challenged due to its discussion of puberty, Judaism, and Christianity.
Little Women: Louisa May Alcott –> Why was it banned?: This book has been challenged for being both too feminist and “anti-feminist.” In its day, people believed that the girls in this book were too free, and nowadays people think that the little women play too much into traditional gender roles.
The Handmaid’s Tale: Margaret Atwood –> Why was it banned?: This has been banned in schools for being too sexually explicit and offensive to Christians.
Where’s Waldo?: Martin Handford –>Why was it banned?: This was banned due to the fact that the beach themed page showed a woman in a bikini.
Persepolis: Marjane Satrapi –> Why was it banned?: This graphic novel has been challenged for certain images that are too graphically violent, and scenes that depict torture.
Junie B. Jones: Barbara Parker –>Why was it banned?: Some parents think that Junie B. is too bratty, and they don’t like that she uses words like “stupid.”
And that’s the list! Pretty much all of the books on this list that I’ve read, I’ve given very high ratings. I hope that you can find a forbidden gem on here that you can enjoy!
To find more lists of banned books you can visit the ALA website here –> http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top100
To buy a compendium of banned books click here –> http://www.alastore.ala.org/detail.aspx?ID=10943