It’s hard to believe that in the year 2020, people still try to ban books in schools, libraries, and bookstores. Yet, it still happens today.
The American Library Association (ALA) launched Banned Books Week in 1982 to celebrate the freedom to read and highlighting the value of free and open access to information. ALA publishes the lists to draw attention to literary censorship, but ALA officials stress that the annual report provides only a snapshot of book challenges, with ALA acknowledging that most challenges go unreported. In 2019, ALA reported a 17% increase in the number of challenges to library, school, and university materials and services—with an uptick in the number of challenged books that included or addressed LGBTQ+ content.
Here is full list of the top 100 most challenged and banned books of the last decade (2010-2019):
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Looking for Alaska by John Green
George by Alex Gino
And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
Internet Girls (series) by Lauren Myracle
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss
Sex is a Funny Word by Cory Silverberg
Alice McKinley (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
A Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
It’s a Book by Lane Smith
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
A Child Called “It” by Dave Pelzer
Bad Kitty (series) by Nick Bruel
Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi
The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey
This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman
This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine
In Our Mothers’ House by Patricia Polacco
Lush by Natasha Friend
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
The Holy Bible
This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
House of Night (series) by P.C. Cast
My Mom’s Having a Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler
Neonomicon by Alan Moore
The Dirty Cowboy by Amy Timberlake
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle
Dreaming in Cuban by Cristina Garcia
Fade by Lisa McMann
The Family Book by Todd Parr
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Go the Fuck to Sleep by Adam Mansbach
Habibi by Craig Thompson
House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
Jacob’s New Dress by Sarah Hoffman
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan
Stuck in the Middle by Ariel Schrag
The Kingdom of Little Wounds by Susann Cokal
1984 by George Orwell
A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
Almost Perfect by Brian Katcher
Awakening by Kate Chopin
Burned by Ellen Hopkins
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Glass by Ellen Hopkins
Heather Has Two Mommies by Lesle´a Newman
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Madeline and the Gypsies by Ludwig Bemelmans
My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis
Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack
Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology by Amy Sonnie
Skippyjon Jones (series) by Judith Schachner
So Far from the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Kawashima Watkins
The Color of Earth (series) by Tong-hwa Kim
The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter
The Walking Dead (series) by Robert Kirkman
Tricks by Ellen Hopkins
Uncle Bobby’s Wedding by Sarah S. Brannen
Year of Wonders by Geraldine Brooks
To celebrate this week, add some of these books to reading your list! As the theme of this week says, “Censorship is a dead end. Find your freedom to read!”
Racism, violence, and hate have no place in our world. Black lives do matter. And silence is not an option.
Take the opportunity to learn more and get a better understanding of the institutionalized and systematic racism in our country. Here are a few books listed below to check out.
Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
Biased by Dr. Jennifer Eberhardt
Wilmington’s Lie: The Murderous Coup of 1898 and the Rise of White Supremacy by David Zucchino
Raising White Kids: Bringing Up Children In A Racially Unjust America by Jennifer Harvey
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady
The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson
A Spectacular Secret: Lynching in American Life and Literature by Jacqueline Goldsby
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
We can also support those organizations who are working to end social injustice. Click on their names to learn more about several organizations working hard on this front. Consider supporting them both financially and with your voice. Many other organizations exist as I just listed a few here and not in any order.
You can do many things such as sign petitions, text and call legislators, donate to these organizations, educate yourself, donate supplies, protest in person or virtually, and more. And vote.
“The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity. If discrimination is creating equity, then it is antiracist. If discrimination is creating inequity, then it is racist.”
― Ibram X. Kendi, How to Be an Antiracist
“It is the custom of every good mother after her children are asleep to rummage in their minds and put things straight for next morning, repacking into their proper places the many articles that have wandered during the day. If you could keep awake (but of course you can’t) you would see your own mother doing this, and you would find it very interesting to watch her. It is quite like tidying up drawers. You would see her on her knees, I expect, lingering humorously over some of your contents, wondering where on earth you had picked this thing up, making discoveries sweet and not so sweet, pressing this to her cheek as if it were as nice as a kitten, and hurriedly stowing that out of sight. When you wake in the morning, the naughtinesses and evil passions with which you went to bed have been folded up small and placed at the bottom of your mind; and on the top, beautifully aired, are spread out prettier thoughts, ready for you to put on.” ― J. M. Barrie, The Adventures of Peter Pan
Mothers exist all over children’s literature as well quotes about them. Enjoy this one particular quote above from The Adventures of Peter Pan to celebrate this Scottish author’s birthday yesterday.
Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there (and even to the fictional ones)!
George Lucas created this magical franchise with the first film back in 1977 and it operates now as a huge enterprise!
While most people think of the movies when they think about Star Wars, many novels have been written about all the creative characters and stories. Enjoy a few minutes and read one of the many Star Wars books or comics out there!
I just finished reading Wishtree written by Katherine Applegate. Fantastic book! I’m not surprised as I loved The One and Only Ivan also authored by Katherine Applegate.
In this novel, the author uses nature to tackle prejudice through the most beautiful use of words.
Red is the neighborhood oak tree that people place their wishes onto via a tie and cloth once a year. Red and his animal buddies have seen a lot over the years. In fact, Red has 216 rings on him.
I love the voice the author gives Red and his buddies to help out a new family to the area and grant a wish. As I read this book, I felt the oak tree’s feelings and wanted to give him a wish that I could grant.
“But sometimes things happen that aren’t so good. When they occur, I’ve learned that there’s not much you can do except stand tall and reach deep.”
― Katherine Applegate, Wishtree
After finishing the book, I stared at my own oak tree for some time wondering about his thoughts, memories, and wishes.
Highly recommend picking up this quick, but really beautiful read!
Happy birthday to Charles Dickens! This great novelist was born today in 1812.
He brought us with some of the most memorable fictional characters of all times and known as one of the greatest novelist of the Victorian Era.
My personal favorite Dickens classics is A Tale of Two Cities. I remember vividly reading this book in high school (many years ago) and struck by his use of the language and words. In particular, I love his opening! The images, the pace, the words just ring magic.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”
― Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
To celebrate his birthday, pick up one his classics and enjoy it! Maybe enjoy it with a cup a tea!
As the summer approaches for children, you can find a few resources to keep your children reading in addition to your local libraries.
First, Barnes and Noble offers a summer reading program every year where the children track at least 8 books on a form. Then, in August, they can come into the store and pick a book off of their list for free! Click here for the form.
Also, Scholastic is having a “Read-A-Palooza” Summer Reading Challenge. Over the summer, kids log their minutes that they have read online. They unlock digital rewards, book excerpts, and other summer content. In addition, once participating kids reach 25, then 50 and then 100 million minutes collectively read in the Summer Reading Challenge, Scholastic will donate a minimum of 200,000 books to kids in need across the United States! Click here for information on this program.
Make sure your littles read over the summer to continue their education from the previous school avoiding that summer slump. And let your kids explore, grow, travel, and have fun reading some cool books over the warm summer!