“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.” —Maya Angelou
From September 22–28 Banned Books Week will bring national attention to censorship. This annual event celebrates the freedom to read by raising awareness of the value of open access to information. Every reader out there is encouraged to participate: teachers, parents, students, librarians, journalists, publishers, booksellers, etc.
Here are the top ten challenged books by decade.
Not just novels are banned, so are classic children’s books.
In 1982 there was a case called Board of Education v. Pico. It centered around the First Amendment and whether it was being violated or not—did the Board of Education have a right to ban certain books?
At the time Steven Pico was a 16 year-old student in Long Island, NY; he was the junior class vice president and an editorial board member of the student newspaper. Steven passionately believed that no book should be removed from schools and libraries. He took his fight to the District Court, and eventually scored a huge win for the freedom to read. Catch up with Steven Pico today in a one-on-one interview that offers insight on this groundbreaking case, and lots of information on this greatly debated topic.
Let’s look closer at two immensely popular banned books and learn both sides of the debate—this will give us an idea of what some of the arguments are.
The beloved classic To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the most banned books ever. The use of profanity, racial slurs, and matter-of-fact dialogue ignite strong opinions on whether it should be allowed in schools or not. Some people are upset by the content, while others see it as a powerful piece of literature—mixing fiction with autobiographical elements—shedding light on an important and complex time in American history.
The modern day Hunger Games finds a place on the banned book list due to what some people call disturbing violence. Conversely, others think the political and social commentary throughout holds great value to students who can grasp it.
Did you know that the Freedom to Read Foundation offers grants in support of Banned Books Week? Library, schools, and community organizations are eligible to receive money to go toward their event. Learn about the grant-winning events and start thinking about what you can do to secure a spot on the winners list next year!
Are there any books on the banned book list that surprise you? Do you think some subjects are just too volatile for schools, or do you feel that no book should be censored?