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Celebrate Banned Books Week in Palos Verdes

Censorship is alive and well, as highlighted by Banned Books Week. Here's a list of frequently challenged or banned books.

The importance of the First Amendment and the concept of "intellectual freedom" might not always be readily apparent to most kids, but Banned Books Week is a great opportunity to make those lessons come alive for children—and adults.

Banned Books Week, which began Sunday and will end this Saturday, is held annually during the last week of September. The week is an occasion for libraries and bookstores across the U.S. to help folks realize just how real and ongoing a problem censorship is.

Though there are no official events planned in Palos Verdes for Banned Books Week, expect the Palos Verdes libraries and the Book Frog to put up displays of banned and frequently challenged books. 

More than 11,000 books have been challenged (though not necessarily successfully censored) since 1982, the inaugural year of Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the vast majority of challenges to books are initiated locally by parents, likely in well-meaning attempts to protect their children. 

Last year, there were 326 challenges reported to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, based on everything from offensive language, to violence, insensitivity, religious viewpoint and sexual explicitness. In addition to those challenges, the ALA estimates that as many as 60 to 70 percent of challenges may go unreported.

Over the past year, the 10 most challenged titles were:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle 
  2. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa

  3. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
  4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  6. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  8. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
  9. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Here are some banned and challenged classics with which you’re likely familiar:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Beloved and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

If you’re interested in celebrating Banned Books Week as part of a lesson for your kids—or simply to feel like a rebellious reader—check out these additional resources:

Sylvia Richardson October 02, 2012 at 02:48 AM
Palos Verdes Library District honors Banned Books Week each year. Celebrate your freedom to read by re-visiting some of our most cherished American literature that has been the target of banning, including To Kill a Mockingbird, Grapes of Wrath, Sophie's Choice, and many others.

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