Sunday, September 21, 2014

Banned Books Week! (September 21st - 27th)

I feel like banned book week is important - because I still can't believe banning books. I understand not wanting to have certain books in school libraries, especially if it's a middle school, but to ban books seems extreme. And books get challenged and banned for all kinds of things, some that is obviously people grasping at straws and some are their own prejudices.

Very quickly - challenged means someone is attempting to remove the book because of it's contents. Banned means the material (the book) is removed/restricted. Most books are only challenged - librarians and teachers work to try and keep the books in the library/curriculum. (Still confused? Check out the link down below called: About banned/challenged books).

I could write about the books I've loved that have challenged/banned, or the books I want to read, but just haven't had the time to get to yet (so many books, so little time). And I do want to highlight some books that I think are important, too important to be made unavailable. There's books about growing up that could help kids, or about something bad happening, or about grief. They might not be happy books, but that doesn't mean kids need to be protected from them - kids are much more resilient then anyone else, and reading can help.

First off - Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. Okay, I'm biased, because I adore this series. However - I found this article, from earlier this month, on Scientific American titled Why Everyone Should Read Harry Potter - it's about how Harry Potter apparently makes people nicer.

The Bluest Eyes by Toni Morrison, on a slightly more serious note, I haven't read this book but I've heard amazing things. That it's heartbreaking but important. And I can definitely see it's importance:
The Bluest Eye is Toni Morrison's first novel, a book heralded for its richness of language and boldness of vision. Set in the author's girlhood hometown of Lorain, Ohio, it tells the story of black, eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove. Pecola prays for her eyes to turn blue so that she will be as beautiful and beloved as all the blond, blue-eyed children in America. In the autumn of 1941, the year the marigolds in the Breedloves' garden do not bloom. Pecola's life does change- in painful, devastating ways.
What its vivid evocation of the fear and loneliness at the heart of a child's yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment. The Bluest Eye remains one of Tony Morrisons's most powerful, unforgettable novels- and a significant work of American fiction.
 (GR link)
1984 and Animal Farm by George Orwell. There's irony in 1984 being challenged/banned a lot. I haven't read it yet - and I have read Animal Farm, but I was too young to appreciate it, I think, and it wasn't explained well to me at all, but I'm planning on rereading it soon. I'm sure probably everyone knows the plots behinds these books, they're well known classics.

And there are books that might not be able to, really, like these, but are still important. The Giver, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Lord of the Flies, Lolita, The Grapes of Wrath, Brave New World, The Sun Also Rises, Slaughterhouse-Five, The Lord of the Rings, The Awakening, A Wrinkle in Time, The Handmaid's Tale, Flowers for Algernon, and a ton more.

What is your favorite book that's been challenged/banned? Do you have any related stories? What are you doing for Banned Books Week?

Some Banned Books Week Links:
About banned/challenged books
About Banned Books Week
Frequently challenged books
List of frequently banned/challenged classics


  1. I feel Banned Books Week is important too! I don't believe in banning books ever! Banned books usually make the best reads!!

    One of my favorite banned books is The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. I also like The Giver by Lois Lowry.

    The past 2 years, I usually read banned books during Banned Books Week and post newsworthy articles daily about banned books, but this year, I haven't made any plans other than to wear my banned book t-shirt!

    1. I always find that banning books - seems to almost make /more/ people read them then if they hadn't tried to ban them.

      I haven't really done much blog wise for Banned Book week before and don't really have anything planned - but I definitely like to try and get the word out for it. I'd planned to try and get a review up of a banned book but, sadly, I don't think that's going to happen unless I happen to read something this week.

      Mmmh - a t-shirt, I might need to find one of those. :)

  2. Cafe Press sells cute tees for Banned Books Week!! Here's me blog post about tees for Banned Books Week: