Join me in celebrating banned books week!

The 2010 Banned Books Week Challenge

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I have a plan for Banned Books Week this year.  Don’t know what Banned Books Week is?  You must be new here.  You can check out the info on Banned Books Week at the website for the ALA (American Library Association).  This is a week when readers and library rats everywhere can celebrate the fact that we do have intellectual freedom in this country, and thank the wonderful librarians who stick up for those rights!

That’s why I’m proposing a Banned Books Week Challenge to all the readers and bloggers out there.  It’s very simple.  Recently the ALA listed the top 100 most challenged books in the U.S. for the years 2000 through 2009.   I want all you bloggers out there (whether your blog is book-based or not) to choose one of these books.  Read it.  Then sometime during the week of Banned Books Week (September 25 through October 2, 2010) blog about the book.  Write a synopsis of the book, what it means to you, what we would lose out on if the challenges to that book were successful.

I’ll be posting my own sometime during that week (I still haven’t decided which book to choose. There are so many good ones on the list!)  And on October 2, I will create a special post where I link every other Banned Books Week post.  Also, anyone who participates will get a chance to earn a special prize, to be determined at a later date, from me.

If you’re interested in participating, send me an email nhboisture (at) gmail (dot) com.  Let me know you want to do this, and which book you want to read and review.

For your perusal, here are the top 100 challenged books for the last decade.  It’s terrifying how many of these are Y.A. books.

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 Graighead 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 Frank, E.R.

The 2010 Banned Books Week Challenge

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About nikkihb

Wife. Mother. Reader. Blogger.
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28 Responses to Join me in celebrating banned books week!

  1. meghan says:

    Awesome idea. I think I'll pick up Bridge to Terabithia or A Wrinkle in Time. Two of my faves.

  2. Wow, thanks to you I now remember the name of a book I read in 5th grade (The Upstairs Room). For years I've been trying to remember the name of it or the author as I wanted to reread it. Never realized it was once banned, we read it in class!

  3. Fran says:

    Wow. this is the first time I've seen the complete list and I can't believe how many of my favorite books are on there! It's unbelievable- no wonder you're so passionate about this!

  4. Alison says:

    I just e-mailed you about it. And now I'm waaaay excited.

  5. moxobee says:

    So many wonderful books on this list – could could people not see the genius and the beauty of A Wrinkle in Time or To Kill a Mockingbird?Can I participate from the UK? I am emailing you now to find out!

  6. Tracy says:

    Oh my god, i just finished "the upstairs room" this very morning. I picked it up at a thrift store last week because it looked interesting. i liked it, but had never heard of it.Lois Duncan and Judy Blume…both would make my top 3 list of YA authors that shaped my teen years. Love them.

  7. nikki says:

    Thanks for the interest all! I know….the books listed on here are ridiculous.

  8. Lauren says:

    #4, And Tango Makes Three, is ridiculous to be on this list. It's not even YA, it's children's! Tango is adorable. I bought it as soon as I read it. It's about – oh my god how awful – a GAY PENGUIN COUPLE. And – wait – they adopt a baby penguin. And raise it. And they become a loving family. AND IT'S TRUE. They live in the Bronx Zoo. Shameful, isn't it? ;)It's one of my favorite children's books!

  9. whoa, junie b. jones? wtf? my daughter LOVES those books.i'm constantly shocked by what can and will be banned. it makes me fear for the world.

  10. Kathryn says:

    I've read 38 of these titles, but all of them are familiar 🙂 Damn the man – save the YA books.

  11. tracy says:

    if you don't have a blog can you still participate?

  12. No books have been banned in the USA for about a half a century. See "National Hogwash Week."Thomas Sowell says Banned Books Week is “the kind of shameless propaganda that has become commonplace in false charges of ‘censorship’ or ‘book banning’ has apparently now been institutionalized with a week of its own.” He calls it “National Hogwash Week.”Former ALA Councilor Jessamyn West said, "It also highlights the thing we know about Banned Books Week that we don't talk about much — the bulk of these books are challenged by parents for being age-inappropriate for children. While I think this is still a formidable thing for librarians to deal with, it's totally different from people trying to block a book from being sold at all." And then there's Judith Krug herself who created BBW:"Marking 25 Years of Banned Books Week," by Judith Krug, Curriculum Review, 46:1, Sep. 2006. "On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn't fit your material selection policy, get it out of there."

  13. nikki says:

    Wow, posting from a group called Safe Libraries? You don't have some kind of agenda do you? *rolls eyes* Neither I nor my readers are idiots. I can smell the propaganda from miles away.

  14. Is there a need to be nasty? Isn't intellectual freedom about open inquiry? Am I not allowed to quote Thomas Sowell, Jessamyn West, and especially Judith Krug? I never said your readers were idiots. You did. Rather, I offered them other points of view. Since when is that "propaganda"?

  15. Caitlin says:

    To Kill a Mockingbird, Huck Finn, and A Time to Kill were all required reading for me in high school, and I graduated in 2003, so not terribly long ago. I got into Harry Potter kind of late, actually. I read the whole series for the first time jsut this past year, and I can't believe every time I see it on a banned/challenged list. I think the whole series should be required. There's so many directions to take a class discussion on HP- the class differences, the school dynamics, etc.

  16. angela says:

    Hooray for librarians allowing parents to monitor their children's reading themselves instead of allowing someone else to do it for them. I think it's important to note that the books on the list are all available in this country. None of them were banned any time recently. They were just challenged locally; most challenges failed. I get the feeling from reading some of the comments above that people don't understand that part.

  17. cairstiona says:

    Well of course they're all still available in the US, it's the idea that people are willing to try and keep a book from being read by everyone who uses a given library. If an individual feels a book is inappropriate for their child, then they need to discuss this with their child, not prevent 100s of others from reading it.

  18. nikki says:

    tracy – yes. Shoot me an email, I have an idea on how you can participate.Angela – I'm pretty sure everyone knows that the books are all still available in the U.S. You'll notice that I made sure to point out the list above is for challenged books. A distinction the ALA is also careful to make. Challenged and Banned are not the same thing, and I think my readers are smart enough to figure that one out. :)Safe Libraries – Really? No need to get nasty? Have you even read my blog? I regularly eviscerate the works of authors I openly adore (see Ann M. Martin). How did you think you coming on to my blog and calling the entire concept behind my BBW event hogwash was going to fly? Did you expect me to kiss your fucking feet? Of course I'm open to intellectual freedom and other ideas. That's why I didn't fucking delete your comment. I run this blog and I could have done that, but I didn't, because you get a right to say what you want here. If you'd bothered to even peruse my blog, you'd know that just a few short weeks ago pretty much every one of my commenters disagreed with my assessment of Dawn Schafer in the most recent CD book I reviewed. And you know what? Good on them. They're allowed to disagree with me, and just because their comments didn't change my opinion of the Dawn Schafer matter doesn't mean that any of them went whining about it. Also, I didn't call my readers idiots. Perhaps you need to look up the meaning of the words neither and nor. You might be shocked to find out I called them the OPPOSITE of idiots.

  19. Nikki, I have to admit, your answer was — funny!

  20. nikki says:

    Well, Safe Libraries, I aim to always tickle the funny bone. Sometimes. When I feel like it. Though I'm not very good at it,usually. And I only sometimes mean what I say or say what I mean. Because I'm also not great at expressing myself in writing. Which can be irksome when writing a blog.

  21. Michelle says:

    Ooh, awesome. I'm so in. Gonna email you now 😀

  22. Nikki- I'm up for reviewing To Kill a Mockingbird on my blog. Even though I haven't blogged in months and months. I promised myself when I got married I'd still take time to write, but… it didn't happen. 😉 But I WILL do this!

  23. You're a spunky gal. I like you. I'm joining your following, though I wish I was more of a reader. I did love A Wrinkle in Time, Brave New World, and everything by Judy Blume. It's SHOCKING what's labeled as "safe" books. Who's doing this labeling? What's the criteria? Perhaps they could kindly ban some of the real trash (anything supporting homophobia, racism, anti-Semitism, etc.).Good work!PS Thanks for visiting, so I could discover your blog.xoRobyn

  24. PS oops, I meant "unsafe." Cheers!

  25. Tara says:

    Reading some of these comments makes me thankful that I live in a county- Marshall County, TN- that has never banned, much less challenged, any of the books on this list. I would not set foot in a library that would ban books. Thank God my parents see the beauty and necessity of ALL these books!

  26. Jelaire says:

    I love this! I haven't read all of the books on this list but I hope to be able to claim that someday! I'm totally in!

  27. K says:

    WOW…and yes, gotta lean on the distinction of CHALLENGED. Now you can say they were "banned" persay. Many of these titles have been removed from library shelves both school and regular libraries (and sometimes prison libraries). Or if they are not removed (or retained) often they are placed behind the counter and you pretty much have to sign your life away to have permission to check them out. Putting them behind the counter limits the ability for kids to just stumble upon them like I have many of my favorite books.My all time favorite challenged book is the dictionary. Many different versions have been challenged or even placed behind the counter because they define "fuck", "oral sex", "vagina" etc. OMG, my child is going to learn the technical term for a body part. Le gasp! Or then there is "And Tango Makes Three" which is a kids book about a real life story of two gay penguins who adopt an orphaned baby penguin. Challenged and sometimes removed because there is a fear reading the story will cause kids to choose to be gay.It floors me so much. I took an interest in the cause about 6 or so years ago after learning a school district in my hometown wanted to remove 13 books from the required reading list…for reasons such as using the N word, graphic war scenes, graphic rape scenes. People, the world is not sunshine and daisies. Yes, parents can have the choice to limit books within their home..but don't impede on my territory.

  28. Donica says:

    Perusing old posts.
    In my Children’s Literature class, we’ve been talking about Banned Books. My teacher (who is also gay with a partner and adopted son) read us And Tango Makes Three, and then we picked books from a list to look up why they were banned.
    The one I got?
    James and the Giant Peach (which isn’t even on that list). I haven’t read it in years, and I couldn’t imagine why it would be banned.
    Apparently has to do with alocholism, and talking in tongues and a spider licking its lips could be taken two ways…
    Yeah. A kid doesn’t think about those things. Adults need to get their mind out of the gutter.

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