Every year, during the last week in September, libraries and bookstores nationwide, aim to focus on those books that have been censored. According to Banned Books Week:
Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982.
According to the American Library Association, there were 348 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2010, and many more go unreported.
Here are some of the most challenged titles of 2010:
And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group. The book is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male Chinstrap Penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life where they formed a couple and were given an egg to raise.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group. The book is told in the first-person, from the viewpoint of Native American teenager and budding cartoonist Arnold Spirit, Jr. (better known by the nickname “Junior”). Detailing Arnold’s life on the Spokane Indian Reservation and his decision, upon encouragement from a reservation high school teacher, to go to an all-white high school in the off-reservation town of Reardan, Washington, the novel deals with issues such as racism, poverty, and the following of tradition.
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit. Set in London of AD 2540 (632 A.F. in the book), the novel anticipates developments in reproductive technology and sleep-learning that combine to change society. The future society is an embodiment of the ideals that form the basis of futurology.
Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit. This is a story about a monster. Not a dragon or a mythological beast, but a very real, very destructive monster—crystal meth—that takes hold of seventeen-year-old Kristina Snow and transforms her into her reckless alter-ego Bree. Based on her own daughter’s addiction to crystal meth, Ellen Hopkins’ novel-in-verse is a vivid, transfixing look into teenage drug use. Told in Kristina’s voice, it provides a realistic portrayal of the tortured logic of an addict.
What do you think, LitStackers? What are some of your favorite banned books? We want to hear from you.