Today we continue our Banned Books Week coverage. Banned Books Week is a time to highlight the number of books that people try to remove from the shelves of classrooms and school and public libraries, and to celebrate how often these efforts fail. All week we'll be looking at what books people think you shouldn't be reading.
Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. Various coaches are always on TJ to use his full potential to help bring glory to the school and join a team, but TJ's having none of it. Then, he decides to form a swim team, which gives all the misfits he can find a chance to earn their own letter jacket and stick it to the system that's been making their school lives hell. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2005 for racism, offensive language.
Detour for Emmy by Marilyn Reynolds. Emmy has dreams of enjoying high school and going to college, but then she starts dating a popular older boy, has sex, and gets pregnant. Can she still continue her higher education when a child? This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2005 for sexual content.
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers. Richie Perry can't afford college. He's stuck in Harlem with few prospects, so he enlists and goes off the Vietnam. There are the basics of a war story-- fear, fighting, death, trying to make sense of it all, trying to stay alive. But there's more to this one-- Perry and most of his unit enlisted for their own reasons, which goes against the standard Vietnam story we tell of draftees. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2004, 2003, and 2001 for offensive language, racism, violence.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by JK Rowling. When Harry turns 11, he discovers he is a wizard and escapes his horrible aunt and uncle to go to Hogwarts. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003, 2002, and 2001 for occult/Satanism.
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous/ Beatrice Sparks. Purported to be the diary of an anonymous teen who spirals becomes addicted to drugs and quickly spirals out of control. It's fiction, and rather didactic on the evils of drugs, but still a favorite of teens. It was among the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003 and 2001 for drugs.
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier. Told in multiple voices, this details what happens when a group of vandals trash a house, and assault a girl who came home early, and what is done by The Avenger-- the guy who saw it all. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2003 for offensive language, sexual content.
Taming the Star Runner by SE Hinton. Travis just got out of juvie and is living on his uncle's horse ranch. He tries to fit in at school and keep his head down and avoid going back to juvie. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2002 for offensive language.
Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene. Patty is Jewish and is conflicted when she befriends a Nazi who has escaped from the WWII POW camp in her small Arkansas town. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2001 for offensive language, racism, sexually explicit.
Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Vivian's a werewolf and her pack has recently relocated to a new town. There, she meets Aiden, a normal mortal boy. Can she ever be herself with him? Can she ever be normal? What is normal for a teen werewolf? This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2001 for being sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.
What are your favorite banned books?
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