Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Banned Book Week

This week is Banned Book Week, brought to us by the American Library Association.

"Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met."

Here are just some of the books that have been most frequently challenged from 1990-2000. A lot of these books were mandatory reading in my schools and I am happy that those ideas were allowed to be presented to me. Many of these books have played major roles in my intellectual development and I would have been missing so much without them. It's amazing that these books below are still being challenged to this day. Some books that were challenged in the past, but are not included on this current list are "The Great Gatsby," "Little Red Riding Hood," "Twelfth Night," "Moby Dick," and of course "Ulysses." Who could fathom a world without Gatsby?

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine LÂ’Engle
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
The Witches by Roald Dahl
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Native Son by Richard Wright
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

Between 1990 and 2000, of the 6,364 challenges reported to or recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom:

1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999)
1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language” (up 165 since 1999)
1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group” (up 89 since 1999)
842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism” (up 69 since 1999)
737 to material considered to be “violent” (up 107 since 1999)
515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality” (up 18 since 1999) and
419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint” (up 22 since 1999)
Other reasons for challenges included “nudity” (317 challenges, up 20 since 1999), “racism” (267 challenges, up 22 since 1999), “sex education” (224 challenges, up 7 since 1999) and “anti-family” (202 challenges, up 9 since 1999)

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