Banned Books Week 2011

It’s the last week of September and so that means it is once again Banned Books Week! From the American Library Association website, “Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged—and possibly banned or restricted—if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.”

One of the features on the website is a free downloadable booklet that talks about Banned Books Week and how you can support it. It also features a list of books that have been banned and/or challenged in 2010-2011 (the list runs May 2010 to May 2011). The booklet is appropriately titled “Books Challenged and/or Banned in 2010-2011” and it’s by Robert P. Doyle. In case you were curious as to what books have been banned and/or challenged this past year, I thought I would share the list. For details about each book’s situation, check out the booklet.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Flamingo Rising by Larry Baker
The Notebook Girls: Four Friends, One Diary, Real Life by Julie Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollitt-Cohen, and Courtney Toombs
Forever in Blue, the Fourth Summer of the Sisterhood by Ann Brashares
Running with Scissors by Augusten Burroughs
My Mom’s Having a Baby by Dori Hillestad Butler
Betrayed by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
The Dead Man in Indian Creek by Mary Downing Hahn
Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern
Snakehead by Anthony Horowitz
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Stolen Children by Peg Kehret
The Koran
Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle in India by Joseph Lelveld
Vegan Virgin Valentine by Carolyn Mackler
What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: A Growing Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras and Dane Saavedra
Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth’s Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa by Mark Mathabane
Shooting Star by Fredrick McKissack Jr.
Writers’ Voice: Selected from Borrowed Time: An AIDS Memoir by Paul Monette
Tweaked: A Crystal Meth Memoir by Patrick Moore
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
ttyl by Lauren Myracle
Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler
The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Push by Sapphire (Ramona Lofton)
Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs by Carl Semencic
We’ll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives by Paul Shaffer
The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star by Nikki Sixx
Bone by Jeff Smith
One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology edited by Amy Sonnie
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Jubilee by Margaret Walker
Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems from WritersCorps

To learn more about Banned Books Week visit the American Library Association website.