What would you be missing if you didn’t have the unrestricted freedom to read? Banned Books Week, which falls on September 21-27 this year, aims to bring attention to the problem of censorship. It began in 1982 when there was a sudden increase in the number of challenged books in schools, bookstores and libraries. Even today, there are many challenges against books. In 2013, there were 307 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom, however, many cases also go unreported.
Censorship is a slippery slope. Once someone succeeds in having one book banned, for any reason, other people can argue for the banning of more books until we completely lose our freedom of unrestricted access to information.
Below are the top 5 most challenged books of 2013, all of which can be borrowed from JMRL. Stop by the library sometime this week and celebrate your freedom to read whatever you want. For more information on Banned Books Week, visit bannedbooksweek.org.
- Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey – When George and Harold hypnotize their principal into thinking that he is the superhero Captain Underpants, he leads them to the lair of the nefarious Dr. Diaper, where they must defeat his evil robot henchmen.
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison – The story of Pecola Breedlove profiles an eleven-year-old Black girl growing up in an America that values blue-eyed blondes and the tragedy that results from her longing to be accepted.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie – Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot.
- Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – When Anastasia Steele, a young literature student, interviews wealthy young entrepreneur Christian Grey for her campus magazine, their initial meeting introduces Anastasia to an exciting new world that will change them both forever.
- The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through a televised survival competition pitting young people against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss’s skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister’s place.