Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is a nationwide event usually occurring the last full week in September. This year,  Sept. 21-27, libraries throughout the country created displays and held readings of banned or challenged books.  In Trexler Library, a display has been created with more than 30 of the most challenged or banned books. In addition, one of Prof. Cathy Kim’s classes came to the library to read from banned or challenged books they had chosen.

One might be surprised to hear just how much books are banned or challenged in the United States.  Over this recent past decade, 5,099 challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom.

According to the American Library Association, here are the top three reasons for challenges:

1. Sexual explicitness
2. Offensive language
3. Unsuited for age group

In 2013, out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the top honors go to:

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
2.  The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
3.  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
6.   A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8.  The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
9. Bless Me Ultima, by RudolfoAnaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
10.  Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

For more information on banned/challenged books, or Banned Books Week, visit the American Library Association website.