by Kimberly Blaker
Freelance Lifestyle Writer
Houston Family, September 2017 (among others)
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Celebrate Your Freedom to Read During Banned Books Week!
Every year the Office of Intellectual Freedom receives reports and records hundreds of challenges to books. Complaints come from parents, library patrons, religious organizations, board members, teachers, administrators, and others who claim the controverted material to be offensive, sexually explicit, unsuited to the age group, or violent. But challengers to the freedom to read find a host of other reasons for the proposed banning of books as well. They argue such literature is, contains, discusses, or in their opinion, endorses, occult/Satanism, abortion, drugs, anti-family, sex education, nudity, homosexuality, sexism, racism, insensitivity, anti-ethnic, inaccuracy, religious or political viewpoints with which challengers disagree, and more.
So celebrate your freedom to read this September during Banned Books Week by visiting your school or public library or community bookstore and selecting to read one of these top challenged books since the turn of the twenty-first century as reported by the ALA.
Challenged Adult Books
Some of these may be suited to younger audiences, as well. Celebrate yours and your child’s freedom to be your own judge!
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
Challenged Teen/Young Adult Books
This Book is Gay by James Dawson
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Forever by Judy Blume
Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Looking for Alaska by John Green
We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
Challenged Children’s Books
For Every Child a Better World by Jim Henson
Captain Underpants (Series) by Dav Pilkey
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Bone (Series) by Jeff Smith
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Challenged Books for the Whole Family
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
More ways you can support and celebrate your freedom to read!
- Purchase Banned Books Week posters, t-shirts, and bracelets. Also, download free audio public service announcements to help broadcast and spread the word of Banned Books Week. All this and more are available at www.ala.org
- Write a Letter to the Editor of your local newspaper addressing the significance of this celebration and the importance of the freedom to read. Don’t forget to include your name and phone number so the editor can verify your authorship of the letter. Encourage your child to write a letter, and include his or her age and grade.
- Ask your library and local bookstore to proclaim Banned Books Week and display challenged books in honor of this annual observance.
- Find and read more challenged titles and authors at
Kimberly Blaker is a family and lifestyle content writer.