In honor of Banned Book Week, let’s read a book on the list!
Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2011-2012
Information on why the book is banned or challenged excerpted from The Daily Beast.
1. TTYL series by Lauren Myracle
The first book in the series, “TTYL,” was banned from a town in Texas in 2008, after parents complained about the sex and profanity in the book. But author Lauren Myracle seems unfazed by the controversy. “My favorite comments come from girls who say, ‘I feel like you’ve given me a self-help book because my parents won’t talk about this.’ When I was a kid, I read Judy Blume to figure out what a hard-on was and what to do when you got your period, so when people say to me, ‘You’re this generation’s Judy Blume,’ I am wildly honored by that,” she says.
2. The Color Of Earth series by Kim dong Hwa
“The Color Trilogy” is a series of graphic novels about a girl growing up, and many people were troubled by the highly visual depictions of nudity and sex education.
3. The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins
Complaints about the book were harsh, including that it is anti-ethnic, anti-family, satanic, and violent.
4. My Mom’s Having A Baby!: A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
It’s designed for children whose mothers become pregnant again. But it seems some parents thought it was a bit too graphic.
5. The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie*
*Sherman Alexie has been accused of sexual misconduct by numerous women.
It is included on the list and made it again this year largely because of racism and offensive language. Alexie rebuts, “I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book.”
6. The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
This makes the list for nudity and profanity.
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
At one point it was outlawed for making promiscuous sex “look like fun.” Sex played a role this year as well, but complaints also included insensitivity, nudity, and racism.
9. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
One poem in the book, “Ice Capades,” seemed to draw ire and criticism from all around. It describes a young girl who holds her bare chest against a cold windowpane to see an “amazing trick.” One angry parent complained to Sones, “Our young people should not have to be exposed to your erotic thoughts and feelings.”
10. Gossip Girls series by Cecily Von Ziegesar
The complaint is its depiction of sex, drugs, and strong language. The author rebuts: “I always resented books that tried to teach a lesson, where the characters are too good: They don’t swear, they tell their mothers everything. I mean, of course, I want to be the responsible mother who says, ‘Oh, there are terrible repercussions if you have sex, do drugs, and have an eating disorder!’ But the truth is, my friends and I dabbled in all of those things. And we all went to good colleges and grew up fine. And that’s the honest thing to say.”
11. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s 1960 classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a frequent target for censors because of its strong language and racism. One ALA official once said of the book’s banning, “To say to young people, even to older people, that you can’t read these materials [is] a travesty because they’re missing out on some of the finest literature written in the U.S.”
Not to mention is it frequently assigned reading in high school!
p.s. Related posts:
Top 10 Must-Read Banned Books for Kids
Top 10: Challenged or Banned Books
My Books Recs for Banned Book Week September 23-29
Top 10: Banned or Challenged Books to READ!
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.
16 thoughts on “Books to Read for Banned Book Week”
I am constantly surprised by the books people want to ban. To them I say, if you don’t want to read it… don’t read it. But it’s not your business if other people want to read it!
I totally agree with you! I feel the same way about gay marriage, another hot button topic. Why should anyone care of the couple is gay or straight?
But what I especially love about banned and/or challenged books is that it’s the exact opposite reaction of what the people who try to ban them accomplish. They highlight the books which gives the books attention and make us all want to read them. They should really rethink their strategy — reverse psychology might work better! We all work so hard to get people to notice books we love after all! By telling us to ban a book, it just gives the book credibility and attention!
Here, here, Erica!
I’ll have to check out the Color Trilogy since I had never heard of it.
And Sherman Alexie’s book should be required reading–it’s that poweful!
I agree with your comment, Mia – authors probably want to be on Banned Books list nowadays because it increases visibility. I think the whole idea of banning books is completely pointless. Color Trilogy looks interesting for when my daughter is a bit older.
I’ll take a look at Color Trilogy too.
I don’t see the point of banning books, and I agree that it’s probably net positive publicity for the authors. I think that if a book my child read did concern me, I would focus on having a conversation with my kid about the book rather than writing letters of complaint to authors or publishing houses.
Good point! It’s a parenting decision for their child not a decision from someone else!
I’m not surprised that Hunger Games Trilogy is in the list. Why that trilogy is really barbaric. Reading the books and watching the movies made me feel depressed.
Hunger Games was too violent for me but my two girls loved it. I asked my fourth grader to wait to read it but she read it anyway and quite a few of her classmates did too. Even a few 3rd graders read it and enjoyed it. But … I still think it’s too violent for me but I’m sure my youngest will read it in a few years as well. I’m glad I’m not the only adult who found it barbaric.
This is an awesome list! I especially love the quotes from Lauren Myracle and Cecily Von Ziegesar. Books like theirs are banned for talking about things that girls are already talking about!
I agree with you that it’s ridiculous to ban books on topics that girls are already talking about. Banning books in general just seems like such a strange concept in our country where we have freedom of speech! Do those adults who try to ban books realize that they are actually giving those very books they disagree with a PR spotlight? I’m glad for that since the book list of challenged books is quite an excellent one. I’d rather people ban books that simply are really terribly written and illustrated books with no reading merit to speak of.
I would love to keep my kids innocent as long as possible but the reality is they are curious and I would rather know about what they are reading and have discussions about it than have them read it unknown to me and feel some sort of shame over it.
Maybe I will take this opportunity to read the Hunger Games and the Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Two I have wanted to read.
I hear you! I think you might like And Tango Makes Three which is a picture book that was banned/challenged because it’s about two Penguin males who raise a baby penguin and it’s a true story! It will still keep your kids innocent while delving into this banned/challenged book world. There are actually a lot of banned picture books that you would scoff at why they would be banned.
In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
The Family Book by Todd Parr
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
That sound cute. I love true stories.
No! Those are some of our favorites! Let’s see Night Kitchen, nudity? Where the Wild Things Are, violence? What’s in Green Eggs and Ham???
I remember reading Curious George and passing fast over the page with the man in the yellow hat smoking a pipe so I guess I am a little guilty of censoring ; )
I am not sure why Green Eggs and Ham was considered an objectionable picture book! Yes, In the Night Kitchen nudity. Where the Wild Things Are — violence?? Is there that much? I think it was more the fantasy that the little boy thought up. It was too magical.
Censoring is fine. I do that too for my kids but to each his own right? We should all be able to censor for our kids and not have someone tell us what we can’t read to them. I hate that!