Sunday, 5 October 2008

100 most frequently banned or challenged books of the 21st century (2000-2007)


In researching reviews for Huckleberry Finn to add to my review below I realised that I had just reviewed one of the most banned books of all time, during Banned Book Week! and I haven't even mentioned it! And I haven't even had a single post about it! ( I know it's only in the US, but I can be supportive, can't I?)
So, even if the week was officially over yesterday, I want to make up for it by doing this little meme about the most frequently banned books of the 21st century (I can't believe we're still talking about banned books in the 21st century......).
In bold the ones I have read. In purple those already in my wish list.

1. Harry Potter (series) - J. K. Rowling
2. Alice (series) - Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War - Robert Cormier
4. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
5. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
6. Scary Stories - Alvin Schwartz
7. Fallen Angels - Walter Dean Meyers
8. It's Perfectly Normal - Robie Harris
9. And Tango Makes Three - Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
10. Captain Underpants - Dave Pilkey
11. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
12. The Bluest Eye - Toni Morrison
13. Forever - Judy Blume
14. The Color Purple - Alice Walker
15. The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky
16. Killing Mr. Griffin - Lois Duncan
17. Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
18. King and King - Linda de Haan
19. Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
20. Bridge to Terabithia - Catherine Patterson
21. The Giver - Lois Lowry
22. We All Fall Down - Robert Cormier
23. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
24. Beloved - Toni Morrison
25. The Face on the Milk Carton - Caroline Cooney
26. Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
27. My Brother Sam is Dead - James Lincoln Collier
28. In the Night Kitchen - Maurice Sendak
29. His Dark Materials (series) - Philip Pullman
30. Gossip Girl (series) - Cecily von Ziegesar
31. What My Mother Doesn't Know - Sonya Sones
32. Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging - Louise Rennison
33. It's So Amazing - Robie Harris
34. Arming America - Martin Bellasiles
35. Kaffir Boy - Mark Mathabane
36. Blubber - Judy Blume
37. Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
38. Athletic Shorts - Chris Crutcher
39. Bless Me, Ultima - Rudolfo Anaya
40. Life is Funny - E. R. Frank
41. Daughters of Eve - Lois Duncan
42. Crazy Lady - Jane Leslie Conley
43. The Great Gilly Hopkins - Katherine Patterson
44. You Hear Me - Betsy Franco
45. Slaughterhouse-Five - Kurt Vonnegut
46. Whale Talk - Chris Crutcher
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby - Dav Pilkey
48. The Facts Speak for Themselves - Brock Cole
49. The Terrorist - Caroline Cooney
50. Mick Harte Was Here - Barbara Park
51. Summer of My German Soldier - Bette Green
52. The Upstairs Room - Joanna Reiss
53. When Dad Killed Mom - Julius Lester
54. Blood and Chocolate - Annette Curtis Klause
55. The Fighting Ground - Avi
56. The Things They Carried - Tim O'Brien
57. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Mildred Taylor
58. Fat Kid Rules the World - K. L. Going
59. The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things - Carolyn Mackler
60. A Time to Kill - John Grisham
61. Rainbow Boys - Alex Sanchez
62. Olive's Ocean - Kevin Henkes
63. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey
64. A Day No Pigs Would Die - Robert Newton Peck
65. Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson
66. Always Running - Louis Rodriguez
67. Black Boy - Richard Wright
68. Julie of the Wolves - Jean Craighead George
69. Deal With It! - Esther Drill
70. Detour for Emmy - Marilyn Reynolds
71. Draw Me A Star - Eric Carle
72. Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
73. Harris and Me - Gary Paulson
74. Junie B. Jones (series) - Barbara Park
75. So Far From the Bamboo Grove - Yoko Watkins
76. Song of Solomon - Toni Morrison
77. Staying Fat for Sarah Burns - Chris Crutcher
78. The What's Happening To My Body? Book - Lynda Madaras
79. The Boy Who Lost His Face - Louis Sachar
80. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
81. Anastasia Again! - Lois Lowry
82. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
83. Bumps in the Night - Harry Allard
84. Goosebumps (series) - R. L. Stine
85. Shade's Children - Garth Nix
86. Cut - Patricia McCormick
87. Grendel - John Garner
88. The House of Spirits - Isabel Allende
89. I Saw Esau - Iona Opte
90. Ironman - Chris Crutcher
91. The Stupids (series) - Harry Allard
92. Taming the Star Runner - S. E. Hinton
93. Then Again, Maybe I Won't - Judy Blume
94. Tiger Eyes - Judy Blume
95. Like Water for Chocolate - Laura Esquivel
96. Nathan's Run - John Gilstrap
97. Pinkerton, Behave! - Steven Kellog
98. Freaky Friday - Mary Rodgers
99. Halloween ABC - Eve Merriam
100. Heather Has Two Mommies - Leslea Newman

What's so amazing is that so many of these books promote tolerance, acceptance of diversities, humanity. They have been banned for what they stand AGAINST. That's what bugs me mostly. I'm against censorship full stop. I once had an argument about whether it was right to sell Mein Kampf or not in the bookshops. I thought it would go against my principles to deny the right to read that book, even if it obviously encourages racist and violent attitudes. This said, I wouldn't have been THAT surprised if it was in a list of banned books. Same for other books that realistically encourage racism, fascism, antisemitism or homophobia (I'm sure there are, only I can't think of any now). But these books above do the exact OPPOSITE! So it's not just a figure of speech. Censorship really causes blindness.

10 comments:

SafeLibraries said...

Get some balance. Read: "National Hogwash Week."

valentina said...

I read the article and I see your point that the books mentioned are not banned from the bookshops or online so people are free to buy them and read them. But it still happens that public libraries or school libraries remove some books from their stock because they don't think it's appropriate and that for me it's censorship. Even if it doesn't happen nationally as in China for example, it still is an issue.
http://title.forbiddenlibrary.com/

SafeLibraries said...

Okay, but the US Supreme Court says removing books from schools that are pervasively vulgar and educationally unsuitable is perfectly legal. Unless you think the US Supreme Court is big time into censorship, you have to realize that the definition of censorship is being twisted by the ALA to promote the interests of the ALA.

Censorship is a serious issue. Keeping inappropriate books from children is not censorship. It's just common sense, let alone perfectly legal.

Nymeth said...

Hum. The problem, or one of the many problems, of using "common sense" to remove books from libraries because they are "perverse", "vulgar" and "unsafe" for children is that we'd have to follow someone's definition of those terms. And not everybody would agree with that definition. So maybe it'd be much simpler, not to mention more democratic, if parents and not librarians were the ones to decide what books they find "safe" for their children on an individual basis. That would also have the advantage of not imposing a particular set of values on the population as a whole.

Valentina, I can't understand why books that are basically pro-tolerance and diversity get banned either. Well, actually I can. But it will never cease to amaze me.

SafeLibraries said...

Nymeth said, "we'd have to follow someone's definition of those terms."

Listen, I understand what you are saying. However, the US Supreme Court cases would be absolutely useless if they could so easily be bypassed merely be saying no one is in a position to judge. Yes, it is very clever to argue that, but it essentially nullifies a lot of legal decisions.

Somehow, I seriously doubt the Nymeth standard is so correct that legal decisions are essentially nullified. Courts don't conduct moot court. Words mean things. If a Court says, "The interest in protecting young library users from material inappropriate for minors is legitimate, and even compelling, as all Members of the Court appear to agree," then someone has to "follow someone's definition of those terms," as Mymeth puts it. Someone has to judge something is inappropriate for children. Otherwise the case is meaningless.

Nymeth said...

I definitely agree that someone has to judge what should be considered appropriate, but in my humble opinion that's what parents are for. I am not by any means suggesting that my standard is the one that is "correct" and should be used. And as for all your points about the supreme court, as I'm not American and have limited knowledge about your legal system, I am in no position to have an in-depth discussion about it. My whole point is that I think should be up to the parents, and not to the government or to any sort of institution, to decide what children can or cannot read.

(Sorry for the hijack, Valentina)

SafeLibraries said...

Nymeth, interesting, what country are you from?

Nymeth said, "My whole point is that I think should be up to the parents, and not to the government or to any sort of institution, to decide what children can or cannot read."

You are 100% correct. Parents and others in the community should have control over their own public libraries, not the American Library Association. ANd in public schools, the schools boards are supposedly comprised of parents making decisions on behalf of all the school students.

The problem occurs when those parents are misled by the American Library Association to believe things that are false and misleading. That's the game. The ALA gets the parents to think it's age discrimination to keep children from inappropriate material, then the parents do not take perfectly legal action to protect their children, then the ALA can sit back and say the parents did it, not us. It's a propaganda technique called conversion.

Nymeth said...

Just to clarify - you said "Parents and others in the community should have control over their own public libraries, not the American Library Association."

This isn't actually what I meant. What I meant is that parents are the ones who should decide what THEIR OWN children read, not what all the children that use a particular library read.

Imagine that Sharon and Joe have a child. They believe that homosexuality is immoral, and therefore they don't want their child to read "And Tango Makes Tree". While I might disagree with this position, that's their parenting decision, and, up to a certain age, they have the power to enforce it. But if they actually have the book removed from the library, that means that Kate and Mark's child also won't be able to read the book. And Kate and Mark are perfectly okay with homosexuality and would like their child to read about it. And yes, the book is still available at the bookstore, but not every parent will be able to afford every book they'd like their child to read. That's what libraries are for, really.

I'm sorry about the elaborate example, but I wanted to make sure my point was absolutely clear.

Also, I have a hard time believing that librarians are out to purposely mislead people in the name of some hidden agenda.

valentina said...

Thanks Nymeth for your contribution, I definitely agree with you on the fact that people should choose individually and their choices shouldn't affect the whole community. I highly doubt that I would agree to remove a book from a library or a school because it's inappropriate. I strongly believe that books are not dangerous and therefore there's no need to hide them from children's surroundings like a packet of tablets or like a bottle of poison.
I don't know which books the Supreme Court considered "vulgar" or educationally unsuitable, and I would actually be really interested to find out. But I think that books should open people's and children's mind not close it. Why is a book inappropriate? In what sense is it vulgar? and Why is the only solution the one to remove it? If a book brings up a difficult issue or deals with some problems that children might not understand, then that's when parents or teachers should intervene. To *discuss* it. To talk about those issues. Not to completely remove the subject! whatever it is. Children are not to be kept in glass jars. And definitely books are not going to hurt them.
Obviously, you can judge a book unsuitable for a certain age-group,that's why there's different sections (early readers, young adult etc...)
But when I read that books like "Forever" by Judy Blume are challenged because they talk honestly about sex, for example, and they're banned for that, sorry but I have to disagree. Those books are written *for* teenagers, specifically to introduce them to those concepts, without fear or shame. If you remove a book like this from a library, you deprive a teenager from that experience, and to me that's a disservice to culture and to open-mindness.

SafeLibraries said...

"Also, I have a hard time believing that librarians are out to purposely mislead people in the name of some hidden agenda."

No, I never said that. It's the ALA, specifically the so-called Office for Intellectual Freedom, that's driving the policy.