This week (okay, it started Saturday, and it goes until Saturday, which I think is a bit odd, since I run my weeks on a Sunday to Sunday or Monday to Monday basis, but, oh well) is National Banned Books Week. The American Library Association has information about it, so check things out there. Well, knowing me, most of their information will probably end up here.
According to their website, The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 547 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.
Being Banned Books Week, I think everyone should go out and read a banned book. And if there were 547 challenges, you clearly have a wide range of choices.
Here are the 2004 Top Ten Books Challenged:
- The Chocolate War for sexual content, offensive language, religious viewpoint, being unsuited to age group and violence
- Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, for racism, offensive language and violence
- Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles, for inaccuracy and political viewpoint
- Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey, for offensive language and modeling bad behavior
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, for homosexuality, sexual content and offensive language
- What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones, for sexual content and offensive language
- In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, for nudity and offensive language
- King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland, for homosexuality
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, for racism, homosexuality, sexual content, offensive language and unsuited to age group
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, for racism, offensive language and violence
Off the list this year, but on the list for several years past, are the Alice series of books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Go Ask Alice by Anonymous, It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.
So go and read a banned book today.