This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week across the country. Libraries, Bookstores, Journalists, and Book Lovers all join together to celebrate the freedom to read whatever you want! Did you know that there have been over 10,000 challenges to books since 1990? On average, that’s about 500 challenges a year to books in libraries and schools! Surprisingly, the Harry Potter series has been near the top of the list of the most challenged books in the country since it was released.
Books can be challenged for many reasons, including sexual content, offensive language, violence, or occult themes (what Harry Potter is normally accused of). Librarians feel that open access to books and knowledge is an integral part of any open society. You may not agree with the message or the content of a book, but that does not mean the book should be banned. We all have the freedom to read what we want, but we also have the freedom to NOT read what we don’t agree with or what doesn’t appeal to our taste.
Here are my Top 10 favorite Banned Books:
10. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
9. The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
8. The Giver by Lois Lowry
7. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
6. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
5. 1984 by George Orwell
4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
3. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
2. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
1. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
All of these books have been challenged over the past twenty years in this country. As you can see, any book can be challenged at any point, whether it is a classic or even a famous children’s title. Any reading list without Banned Books is not only missing out on some great literature, but is missing out on the opportunity to understand the different cultures, people, and the world around us. Celebrate the freedom to read this week and pick up your favorite Banned Book or try a new one from my list.
We want to know what your favorite Banned Books are! Leave a comment below.