September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States. (Go here for more information)

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

The books I've read are highlighted in red. So many of these wound up on my "favorites" shelf (The Color Purple; To Kill a Mockingbird; The Giver; Beloved; Bless Me, Ultima; Snow Falling on Cedars; The Kite Runner; The Things They Carried; A Time To Kill; The Lovely Bones; and A Prayer For Owen Meany). Most of these books were read in my pre-blogging days. However, I've provided links to the two that I have reviewed.

How about you? Any favorites from the list that you can recommend?

Click on the Banned Book Week tag for lists from previous years.


  1. Anonymous8:07 AM

    SPEAK is a very important book. It's about date rape, so is a tough topic, but very, very powerful. I encouraged my book group to read it, even though they weren't really excited about reading a YA book.

  2. Hey Lesley!
    My comment got too long here, so it became my post on my blog today. Check it out!
    These books:Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, Farenheit 451... these are some of my favorites. Oh, and I also really liked A Day No Pigs Would Die...

  3. I read and loved so many of these books growing up that I can't imagine not having had them around. My Brother Sam is Dead, Bridge to Terabithia, The Face on the Milk Carton, The Giver, Summer of My German Soldier, Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry - all favorites from my childhood/young adulthood that I have already or would gladly re-read. That's not even counting the favorites I've read as an adult like Snow Falling on Cedars and Fat Kid Rules the World, and the Harry Potter books, and I could go on and on.

  4. It feels like a challenge...

  5. I enjoyed Bridge to Terabithia (tear-jerker), Slaughterhouse Five and Speak. We have read a lot of the same banned books, otherwise. The Things They Carried is, of course, a favorite. And, To Kill a Mockingbird. Oh, heck, I could go on. There are a lot of wonderful books that have been challenged. Most tend to baffle me; some I understand why they might offend, but I still don't think they should be banned.

  6. If I counted right, I've read 18 on that list. I think my favorite was probably A Prayer for Owen Meany.

  7. No favorites on the list, and actually I've read very few. I wonder if there is a site that not only lists, but goes into detail about why each book was banned.

  8. I just came upon a site you might be interested in, Les:


  9. I am reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower right now. I didn't know when I requested it from the library it was a banned book.

  10. Kay - Speak sounds like a very powerful novel. I'll definitely give it a read. I enjoy YA books but have gotten away from adding them to my lists. Thanks!

    Kay Guest - I'll check it out. Glad you were inspired. :)

    Megan - It sounds like you read a lot of the same books that my daughter did when she was growing up. (She'll be 28 this year.) I'll have to try some of the books you mentioned.

    Jill - It does, doesn't it? I'm pretty sure I couldn't read all of them. There are some that just don't appeal to me.

    Nancy - I think Bridge to Terabithia is one that my daughter read and enjoyed. Kay mentioned Speak, too, so I'll definitely have to give that one a try. Not so sure about Slaughterhouse Five.

    And I'm baffled, too...

    Kathy - Isn't A Prayer for Owen Meany one of the best books?! I was disappointed with the movie (Simon Birch), though. I need to try another by Irving. Maybe Cider House Rules...

    Nan - Thanks for the link. I've got it bookmarked now for future reference.

    Kailana - I keep looking at The Perks of Being a Wallflower when I come across it at work. I love epistolary works, so I'll have to make time to give this one a read.

  11. Obviously there are a lot I don't know and couldn't comment upon but apart from thinking that the principle of censorship is WRONG, I am amazed at some of the books on the list. What on earth can be wrong with them that someone wants to ban them?

  12. Scriptor Senex - I agree! Censorship is wrong and I, too, am amazed at some of the books on this list. My thought is, if you don't like it, don't read it. But let others make that choice for themselves. Simple as that. Thanks for visiting my blog.


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