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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Banned Books Week

Today is the beginning of Banned Books Week. 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.

    

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. In this hilarious and heart-breaking story, Junior decides to leave his school on the rez and go to the school in town. He doesn't fit in at his all-white school, and leaving the rez during the day means he doesn't fit in there anymore, either. This National Book Award winner was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2012, 2011, 2010 for offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. After Hannah commits suicide, she sends Clay, and twelve other people, a box of cassettes detailing her story and the reasons why she ended it. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2012 for drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Amir and Hassan were childhood friends in Afghanistan, despite ethnic and class differences. (Hassan was the son of a servant who worked for Amir's family.) After Amir and his father flee to the US, Amir remains plagued by guilt over his treatment of Hassan and eventually returns to see how life has changed under Taliban control to see if he can make things right. This was on of the most frequently and challenged books in 2012 and 2008 for homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.

    

Looking for Alaska by John Green. There is before, and there is after. In the before Miles goes to boarding school and meets his dream girl Alaska. Alaska helps him find his place at the new school, but she is, sadly, taken. And then there is the after. This Printz winner was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2012, for offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls. Rex Walls was a dreamer, but a drunk. Jeannette's childhood was spent traveling in the Southwest, but in they end, the family ended up n the same small West Virginia town that Rex had fought so hard to escape. This was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2012, for offensive language, sexually explicit.

Beloved by Toni Morrison. After the Civil War, Sethe is literally haunted by her dead baby, and metaphorically haunted by her time as a slave. This novel by a Nobel Prize winner was one of the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2012 and 2006 for Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence.

    

ttyl by Lauren Myracle. Angela, Zoe, and Maddigan have been friends forever, but sophomore year brings new challenges-- a skeevy teacher, partying with beer, and, of course, boys. Told entirely in IM, this book and its sequels, ttfn and l8r, g8r are among the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2011, 2009, 2008, and 2007 for offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. After the districts of Panem tried to rebel, the Capitol decided to punish them by holding the Hunger Games-- an annual televised event where two children from each district compete to the death. When Primrose's name is called to be the tribute from District 12, her older sister Katniss volunteers to take her place. Along with its sequels, Catching Fire and Mockingjay are among the most frequently banned and challenged books in 2011 and 2010 for being anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence.

The Agony of Alice by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. Alice thinks all her problems will be solved if she gets young, hip, and pretty Miss Cole as her teacher. Instead she gets old and homely Miss Plotkin, but soon learns which one is the better role model and mentor. The 28 books in this series were among the most frequently and challenged books in 2011, 2006, 2003, 2002, and 2001 for nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint.

Which banned books are your favorites?

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