Saturday, September 26, 2009

Banned Books Week: Sept. 26 - Oct. 3, 2009

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume

Because of the in-the-know book bloggers I follow, I realized today that we are in the middle of the American Library Association's Banned Books Week. This week is set up by the ALA in order to bring recognition to those books who regularly make the "most challenged" list. It also serves as a way to fight future censorship.

Books are often taken off book shelves, moved to the adult fiction section, or never bought in the first place, all in the name of censorship. This is troubling because many important, life- and society-changing books are challenged on a regular basis. In fact, some of my most beloved coming-of-age books are constantly listed as those that are most controversial.

The ALA lists the top 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990 - 2000 on its website, but here are a few of my favorite banned books from that list:
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  • Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  • Forever by Judy Blume
  • Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  • Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  • The Witches by Roald Dahl
  • Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  • Blubber by Judy Blume
  • Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  • Deenie by Judy Blume
  • Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  • Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
In case it escaped your notice, Judy Blume is seen more than any other author on that list. Her books taught me so many life lessons. It is appalling that other children might not be able at some point or another to enjoy her insightful books for teens and young adults. She has her own anti-censorship website which discusses censorship in meaning, affect on all of us, and what can be done about it.

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