This week is Banned Books Week, a time to celebrate the freedom to read. There shouldn't be a need to have a Banned Books Week but unfortunately there are thousands of books that have been burned, banned and continue to get challenged by individuals, groups and governments that find them offensive.
The books we read expand our minds, and make us the people we are. Books have always been an important part of my life, I can still remember my dad reading me stories when I was small, some of the books have been challenged. Every Christmas and Birthday I would be more excited about the books I received than the toys and clothes I got. One Christmas my dad gave me a copy of A light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein, I sat in a nest of torn wrapping paper and read my brand new book of poetry from cover to cover.
Literary exploration is so important, I read a book a night to my son, stories and poetry, including some of the very same books that my father gave me, books that have been Challenged, and Banned. I fear for the future, if these books that shaped me became banned and children and young adults the world over could not read them.
Books that have been Banned or Challenged at some point are not all masterful works of literature, but that is the magic of books and the stories they tell of history and unknown worlds to explore. I have read quite a few books on the Banned list, and not all of them I loved but they did make me think and I was glad to have read them.
The following list of some of the Banned Books I have read:
- Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
- The Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (I have read the series more times than I can count, and hope to read Farm Boy to H when I can get a copy of it)
- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory also by Roald Dahl
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
- The Call of the Wild, Jack London
- Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein(II read this every week to my son)
- Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein (pure magic)
- The Giving Tree, yet again by Shel Silverstein (it still makes me cry)
- Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
- The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding (yes its disturbing but it was one of the few required reading books that I absorbed)
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (I read but didn't really appreciate and to this day I still don't like Steinbeck's writing but it is important to have the book available to read)
- The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger ( I was forced to read it in school because it was a Banned and Challenged book, and despite it's being a Literary Classic I never loved Holden)
- Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm
- Forever by Judy Blume
Question Authority and Read Banned Books!
a few links:
the ILA: Books Challenged and Banned in 2008 2009 a pdf
The American Library Association has a list of Banned and Challenged books
the School Collection list of Challenged Children's Books
Amazon list of recently Banned and Challenged Books
Amazon list of 100 Banned and Challenged Books