Welcome to Banned Books Week, 2019. I’ve made it something of a tradition to participate, and this year is no different! I invite you to join me this year, share your blog posts and check out what others have to say. The link will be open the entire week!
A lot of attention during Banned Books Week goes towards the Top 10 (or, in the case of this year, the Top 11) challenged and banned books – but there are many other books that face numerous challenges, removals, and attempts at censorship throughout the year. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom received reports of 531 different materials (including magazines, films, artwork, and databases as well as books) that were affected by censorship attempts in 2018. And the attempts at censorship moved even beyond these visual materials to attempts to censor programming that was being offered through libraries (15% of the 347 challenges this year were around programs and meeting rooms!). Look for more about that later this week. Now I want to look at some of the other books that made it onto the list of challenged materials for the year.
A full list can be found on the ALA’s Banned Books Week downloads page. Perusing this list there are some books that have faced their share of challenges before, such as And Tango Makes Three, I am Jazz, The Things They Carried, Fun Home, To Kill a Mockingbird, Little Bill and The Kite Runner.
But there were some on the list that surprised me a bit, such as The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss, Curious George Takes a Job, by H.A. Rey, or The Dollhouse Murders by Betty Ren Wright – a book I loved as a kid and recently got off the shelf to reread (I had no idea this little book from the 80s was popular enough to merit such attention)!
Here’s a small sampling of some of the other books that made the list this year, I highly encourage you to browse the whole list and perhaps pick out a few! I haven’t read all of these, but the name, or the description, has peaked my interest.
- The Butterfly, by Patricia Polacco
- Night, by Eli Weisel (flagged as “mature content” in one school which led to many parents choosing to opt their students out of reading it).
- Willy The Champ, by Anthony Browne (challenged for the use of violence to solve problems)
- Wonder Woman: A Hero For All, by Liz Marsham and Lee Ferguson.
- Voices From The Moon: Apollo Astronauts Describe their Lunar Experiences, by Victoria Kohl and Andrew Chaikin.
- Lily and Duncan, by Donna Gephart (requested to be removed from children’s area along with George, by Alex Gino and I am Jazz, by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel for “sexual content, bullying, rebelling against police, and refusing to take medications.”
- The Travels of Babar, by Jean de Brunhoff
- The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig, by (originally rejected as “inappropriate”)
- Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
- Relish: My Life in the Kitchen, by Lucy Knisley