Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read in the United States of America. It was launched in 1982 as a result of increased number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. American Library Association (ALA) estimates that more than 11,300 books have been challenged and/or banned since 1982. The top three reasons cited for such actions are:
- the material is considered to be “sexually explicit”
- the material contains “offensive language”
- the materials is “unsuited to any age group”
ALA has compiled frequently challenged books according to year. Top 10 challenged books in 2013 are as follows:
|No.||Title||Author||Reasons for challenge|
|1||Captain Underpants (series)||Dav Pilkey||Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence|
|2||The Bluest Eye||Toni Morrison||Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence|
|3||The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian||Sherman Alexie||Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group|
|4||Fifty Shades of Grey||E.L. James||Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group|
|5||The Hunger Games||Suzanne Collins||Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group|
|6||A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl||Tanya Lee Stone||Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit|
|7||Looking for Alaska||John Green||Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group|
|8||The Perks of Being a Wallflower||Stephen Chbosky||drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group|
|9||Bless Me Ultima||Rudolfo Anaya||Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit|
|10||Bone (series)||Jeff Smith||Political viewpoint, racism, violence|
Banned Books Week 2014 will be celebrated from 21st till 27th September. This year’s focus will be on graphic novels because they are frequently subjected to censorship despite their serious literary content and popularity as a genre. Find out more info at this website.
My friends & I will have our first book club discussion on 27th of September. Our book of choice is ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’, which still finds itself on the banned books list. You could read more about this ban here.
Are you going to celebrate Banned Books Week? How are you celebrating it? Don’t hesitate to share your thoughts/ideas with us in the comment box below!