Banned Books Week, 2011

Its Banned Books Week, 2011, from 24th September until 4th October, 2011. Celebrating its 30th year, this is an annual awareness campaign sponsored by the American Library Association (A.L.A). It is celebrating a love of reading, opposing censorship and promoting freedom of speech in the United States of America.

Books are challenged and banned for all sorts of reasons including to protect children, due to religious, racial or political content or because of what are deemed to be (by some), to be inappropriate themes. But doesn't the fact that a book has been challenged or banned just make it all the more desirable to read? Don't you want to read it simply to find out what all the fuss is about?

One misdemeanour I’m sure many of you have committed is reading the Harry Potter series! This series has caused controversy and mayhem in the U.S. due to its wizardry and magical content. (Some books in the series have even been bestowed with the dubious honour of becoming burned books in some states).

So, if you are feeling a bit rebellious, (or even just curious), and would like to read a banned or challenged book, a good place to start is by reading from this list of the top ten frequently challenged books of the past year, created by A.L.A. You can request copies of these books from the library.

1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language, Racism, Sex Education, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
3. "Brave New World" by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity, Offensive Language, Racism, Sexually Explicit
4. "Crank" by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit
5. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
6. "Lush" by Natasha Friend (available via Interlibrary Loan)
Reasons: Drugs, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
7. "What My Mother Doesn’t Know" by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
8. "Nickel and Dimed" by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: Drugs, Inaccurate, Offensive Language, Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint
9. "Revolutionary Voices" edited by Amy Sonnie (available via Interlibrary Loan).
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit
10. "Twilight" by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Violence