Banned Books Week: 13 Facts About the Most Controversial Books – Parade
Banned Books Week, Sept. 27 through Oct. 3, is an annual celebration of the freedom to read. It began in 1982 in response to a growing number of attempts in different parts of the country to censor certain books.
Here are 13 facts about this national week-long celebration.
- According to the American Library Association, over 11,300 books have been challenged since the origin of Banned Books Week 33 years ago.
- In 2014, there were 311 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom.
- The most challenged title of the past year was The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Banners gave 10 different reasons for its unsuitability, including â€œanti-family,â€ â€œoffensive language,â€ and â€œunsuited for age group.â€
- Judy Blume has five books on the list of the most frequently challenged books of the 1990s, including some of her most popular titles: Forever, Blubber, Deenie, Are You There, God? Itâ€™s Me Margaret and Tiger Eyes.
- The â€œTopâ€ Banned/Challenged Book from 2000-2009 was the entire Harry Potter series.
- Over the past 25 years, the most popular reasons for challenging books were offensive language, sexually explicit content and the book being unsuited for a particular age group.
- One of the most challenged books is the childrenâ€™s title,Captain Underpants. This was mostly due to â€œoffensive language.â€
- Books are most often challenged by parents rather than organizations, teachers or religious groups.
- The majority of book challenges are within schools and school libraries.
- Teachers have been fired for teaching banned classics, such as One Flew Over the Cuckooâ€™s Nest and The Catcher in the Rye.
- To Kill a Mockingbird has been removed and/or objected to as recently as 2009, when it was removed from a high school in Canada due to a parentâ€™s objection.
- James Joyceâ€™s Ulysses was banned in four countries (U.S., Ireland, Canada and England) in the early 1900s.
- The most frequently challenged book by an author of color was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. Anti-reader cited many reasons, including the sexually explicit material and references to racism and homosexuality.
Check out a timeline of banned books throughout the years from the American Library Association here.
To show your support for these banned works, check out these products so you can wear your love of literature.
Get some banned book recommendations to read with your morning coffee from this Banned Book Mug. ($13, shoppbs.org)
Wear your reading list on your sleeve, or your wrist, with a book cover bracelet featuring some of the more common banned childrenâ€™s books. ($12, alastore.ala.org)
Burning banned books may be a bit extreme, so this restricted reading matchbook set may be a better alternative. ($8, outofprintclothing.com)
Read about reading: Banned Books by Robert P. Doyle tells all about the history of book censorship in America. ($39, amazon.com)
Pick your favorite challenged book and wear its cover proudly on one of Out of Printâ€™s Banned Book T-shirts. (Psstâ€”theyâ€™re on sale during the celebration.) ($20 special, outofprintclothing.com)
Bring your support for literary freedom into the classroom with a full set of Banned Book Buttons and let your students wear them proudly. ($33, teachersdiscovery.com)