Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Celebrating Banned Books Week

Reading banned books is one of the best ways to prevent them from being challenged or banned. The more you read controversial books and understand their concepts, themes, and what it is about it that makes it controversial, the more you grow to realize that there is no need to censor it. Most challenges come from people who haven't actually read the book in question. They don't know that Harry Potter is actually fighting evil and just happens to be a wizard. They forget that Atticus Finch is the one standing up for the African Americans or that when Madeleine L'Engle wrote A Wrinkle in Time, it really was just a fantasy story. So pick up a banned book today, read it, and try to see why it would be challenged. Now that you know the story, would you want to ban the book?

In celebration of banned books, I thought I would list all the banned books I've read. I picked from the titles listed on the ALA website. Find the lists here and here.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
, by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men
, by John Steinbeck
, by Judy Blume
Bridge to Terabithia
, by Katherine Paterson
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
The Witches, by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene
Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Terrorist, by Caroline Cooney
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad
Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

I'm sure you're surprised to see some of these books on this list. Brings up a lot of questions about why books are banned doesn't it? So read banned books and think about all the silly things people do. Remember that the only person who has the right to judge what is acceptable for you or your children to read is you. Banning books prevents other people from reading amazing stories and learning valuable things. Celebrate the freedom to read by reading one of these amazing books that someone tried to stop you from reading. Revel in the idea that you live in a country where the courts, libraries, and members of the community view censorship, especially of books, as harmful to the public. Rejoice in your freedom to read.

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