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.
Explore the larger map of Book Bans and Challenges, 2007-2011.
Luria Library Collection
- An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser F D771a 2003
- Animal Farm by George Orwell F O79a 1954
- A Time to Kill by John Grisham
- 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
- The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck F S819J-g 1989
- Grendel by John Gardner F G227g
- House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende F A432c 1986
- The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini F H829k
- Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov F N117lo 1992
- 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
- Rabbit, Run by John Updike F U66r
- The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie F R953S-s
- Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson F G983s
- Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison F M882T-so 1977
- Sophie’s Choice by William Styron F S938s 1998
- 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
- Black Boy (American Hunger): A Record of Childhood and Youth by Richard Wright 928.1 W952b 1993
- 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
- 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
- *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
- *Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling F R884
- Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman and Diana Souza JF N553h
- 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
- The Lorax by Dr. Suess J F S496l
- *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 L566W 2007
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 September 2012, the East Penn School District in Pennsylvania received a written complaint to remove The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe and Prep by Curtis Sittenfeld from the high school summer reading list. They were asked to be removed for strong sexual content, and one school director even agreed. The books remain on the reading list at this point. [source]
- Also in September 2012, a young couple’s home in Portland, OR was raided by the FBI in connection with the vandalism of a Seattle courthouse. The search warrant was reportedly for “black clothing, paints, sticks, computers and cell phones, and ‘anarchist materials or literature’”. Read more about it here and here.
- 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 has started a movement to smuggle banned books back into Arizona.
- In 2004, the books 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]