Banned Books Week
About This Guide
Banned Books Week is an annual celebration of the freedom to read, the continual fight against censorship, and the belief in the First Amendment. Banned Books Week is celebrated in a variety of different ways by libraries and booksellers across the country. Banned Books Week was created in 1982 in response to a surge in challenged books in libraries, bookstores, and schools. Since Banned Books Week began there have been more than 11,300 book challenges recorded throughout the country. [source] Challenged books are those which receive a formal attempt to restrict or remove materials based on an objection from a person or group, but books that are not formally challenged are not recorded. [source] This means that many book challenges go unrecorded and the actual number could be much higher.
Click through the tabs above to learn more about Banned Books Week, and how censorship still happens today.
By the Numbers
By clicking on the graphic on the right you will be able to view the top 100 most challenged books for the last decade. You will also be able to view which states have the most books challenged and how many books are challenged every year.
- In the past twenty years the most books formally challenged were in 1995.
- The top four reasons for book challenges are: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group, and violence.
- The majority of book challenges are filed by parents.
- The top three institutions, which receive book challenges are schools, school libraries, and public libraries
This map is updated by the ALA and shows where and what books are challenged throughout the United States.
Luria Library Collection
- The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie F A384a
- An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser F D771a 2003
- Animal Farm by George Orwell F O79a 1954
- As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner F F263as
- Beloved by Toni Morrison F M882T-b 1988
- Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya F A536b 1994
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison F M882T-bl 1994
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley F H986A-br 1998
- Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh F W354E-b
- Catch-22 by Joseph Heller F H477c 1995
- A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess F B955c 1987
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker F W177c 1983
- A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway F H488E-f 2003
- For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway F H488E-fo 1996
- Go Tell It on the Mountain by James Baldwin F B181g 1995
- Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell F M682g 1975
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck F S819J-g 1989
- The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Grendel by John Gardner F G227g
- Habibi by Craig Thompson 741.5973 T469h 2011
- House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende F A432c 1986
- The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros F C579h 1991
- Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison F E47R-i 1995
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini F H829k
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov F N117lo 1992
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding F G619l 2003
- The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold F S443l
- Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs F B972W-na 1992
- The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer F M219n 1990
- Native Son by Richard Wright F W952n 1998
- Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell F O79n
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck F S819J-o 2002
- One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey F K42o 2012
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky F C513p 2012
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike F U66r
- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie F R953S-s
- A Separate Peace by John Knowles F K73J-s
- Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut F V947sl 1991
- Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson F G983s
- Sophie’s Choice by William Styron F S938s 1998
- Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston F H966t 1991
- Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller F M648H-t 2001
- Ulysses by James Joyce F J89u 1961
- Women in Love by DH Lawrence F L419wo 1976
These titles are located on the lower level of the library.
- Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in LA by Luis J. Rodriguez 364.36 R696a
- Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture by Michael A. Bellesiles 363.33 B442a
- Beyond Magenta:
Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin 306.768 K96b 2014
- Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth by Richard Wright 928.1 W952b 1993
- Fun home : a family tragicomic by Alison Bechdel 741.59 B391f
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou 818.5409 A584i
- It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley 613.9 H315i
- The Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano 301.4157 S587n 2003
- The Joy of Sex by Alex Comfort 301.418 C733j 2002
- Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane 323.168 M426k
- Palestine by Joe Sacco 956.9405 S119p 2001
- Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi 955.0542 S253p 2003
- Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire 370.1 F866p
Titles with [*] are located in the adult fiction section.
- And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, and Henry Cole J F R523t
- Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden J F G218a 2004
- *The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger F S165c 1991
- *The Chocolate War by Robert Cormeir F C811R-c
- Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite J F W714d
- *Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury F B798R-f 1996
- *The Giver by Lois Lowry F L921L-g 2006
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein J F S587g
- *The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman F P982g 2005
- *Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling F R884
- Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman and Diana Souza JF N553h
- I Am Jazz! by Jessica Herthel, Jazz Jennings, and Shelagh McNicholas J 306.768092 H574i 2014
- James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl J F D131j
- King & King by Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland J F H111k
- King & King & Family by Linda de Haan, Stern Nijland, and Abigail Samoun J F H111ki
- Lemony Snicket Series J F S672
- A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein J 811.54 S587l 1981
- The Lorax by Dr. Seuss J F S496l
- My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis and Suzanne DeSimone J F K488m 2010
- *Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene F G799B-s
- Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig J F S818s
- *To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee F L478t 1995
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle J F L566tL 2012 (Graphic novel adaptation)
The banning and challenging of books might seem like a relic from a by gone era, but it still alive and well. Here is a short list of recent controversial book challenges that have happened.
- In 2016, one of the most commonly challenged series of books in the U.S. was Bill Cosby’s Little Bill series. This marks the first time that books have made it to the annual Top Ten Challenged Books List based on the author’s actions in real life, rather than the content of the book they wrote. In 2015 Cosby was charged with drugging and sexually assaulting a woman, and is accused of doing the same to many more women. Though many authors have been criticized over time for their beliefs or behaviors rather than their books, none have made the Top Ten List [source].
- In 2015, The Bible was one of the top-ten most challenged books in the U.S., due to the idea that its presence in a library would be considered the promotion of religious viewpoints. However, two other books in the top ten were also challenged on the basis of religious viewpoints: The novel The Curious Incident of the Dog at Nighttime, by Mark Haddon, was challenged because of atheism within the book; children’s book Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan/em>, by Jeanette Winter, was challenged for references to Islam.
- In January 2012, the Tuscon School District in Arizona banned a large amount of books about Mexican-American history and books where the central themes are ethnicity and oppression. Titles that were banned included: The Tempest, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Rethinking Columbus: The Next 500 Years, and Occupy America: A History of Chicanos. This book ban follows the elimination of ethnic studies programs from the school district. [source] The group Librotraficante started a movement to smuggle banned books back into Arizona, and succeeded in having the Ethnic Studies ban revoked by a federal judge in 2017.
- In 2004, the book Always Running by Luis Rodriguez was pulled from Santa Barbara schools after a parent complained about graphic sex and violence depicted in the book. [source]