In keeping with my post last Saturday, I thought I would check the banned books list for the last decade 2000-2009 and see just how many books on the list I had read. I’m using the list published by ALA’s (American Library Association) Office of Intellectual Freedom, in case you want to do a count of your own. This list comprises the top 100 most challenged books for the decade, as submitted by librarians from all over the country. How many have you read? Which books surprise you? Here’s my list:
- Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
- The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
- Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
- To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
- My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
- The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
- Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
- A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
- A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
- Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Of the top 100 most challenged books of the decade, I’ve read 12. Frankly, I don’t understand why some of them are even on the list. Check out the list yourself. How many books have you read on the list? Leave me a comment, I’d love to know!
Oh yes. Even here in the United States, we still face censorship issues. That’s why once a year, ALA (the American Library Association), along with a number of other organizations, sponsors banned books week, to promote awareness of the issue, and encourage people to get involved in their communities. You can find further information about Banned Books Week at the ALA site. This year, Banned Books Week runs from today, September 25 thru October 2. I encourage everyone to take a look at the different Banned and Challenged Books list, you may be surprised to discover some of your favorite books on the list. For myself, I always find it surprising to realize that classic books like Gone With the Wind or The Lord of the Rings are on record as having been banned or challenged.
I love reading, and I love the freedom that this country gives us, to read, view or listen to pretty much anything we want. It makes me sad to realize that if it were up to others, many of my favorite books wouldn’t be on the shelves of my local library. I don’t think anyone should be forced to read something they find offensive, but I would ask that everyone respect the rights of others, to choose his or her own reading material. Defy censorship this week and read a banned or challenged book!