Banned Books Week: Part II

on September 29, 2011

On Saturday I posted my involvement in the Banned Books Week Hop. You can read it here, and check out the prizes I’m offering! Remember, one entry a day!

Today, I wanted to talk about some of the most challenged books.

It’s important to understand that when we talk about “banned books” these aren’t books banned across the country by the government. Banned books are often challenged books that are banned in limited schools and public libraries because a vocal minority spoke up.

I believe in freedom of speech and these citizens deserve every right to stand up and denounce a book they don’t like and articulate why.

I believe in the rights of parents to approve what their child reads. No child should be reading material for school that their parents find offensive or antithetical to their religion or personal beliefs. In these rare instances, I believe the teacher should strive to offer an alternative, or dialogue with the parents to find out what the specific issue is. Parents have the right to ban certain books from the house, just like they can ban certain movies or video games.

However, no one person should have the right to deny everyone else the right to read a book. Not in a free society.

Banning books is not a liberal or conservative issue. It’s not a religious issue. People of all political and religious stripes seek to ban certain books. And I strongly believe that no one should be forced to read a book, as much as I believe they have the right to read any book.

This is not to say that age-inappropriate books should be placed in libraries, but I think our librarians are smarter than that. No one is seeking to put the Joy of Sex in elementary schools. The books that get challenged the most are classics, or books written for the children’s market. (This includes YA books.)

Other than the obvious, perennial “banned” books like To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, and Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, here are some of the most challenged books of the last decade:

  •  The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
  • Killing Mr. Griffen by Lois Duncan
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Draw Me a Star by Eric Carle
  • Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  • Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle


And here’s a neat little list from the ALA of the ten most challenged books in 2010:

And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Crank by Ellen Hopkins

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Lush by Natasha Friend

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

Revolutionary Voices by Amy Sonnie

Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer

Now, I’m preaching to the choir. So what I want from you is to talk about ANY book you’ve read that has impacted you in any way. It can be a book with a moral lesson that has stuck with you, or a laugh-out-loud feel good book, or a classic that you have never forgotten, or a non-fiction book that taught you something valuable. Share, because remember, everyone who posts this week is in a drawing for one of five great prizes, including an advance copy of my upcoming IF I SHOULD DIE.

And one more thing … the amazing and talented Mariah Stewart has a new book out this week in her Chesapeake Bay series. HOMETOWN GIRL is a must read. I pre-ordered my copy and it’s sitting on my desk waiting for me to finish writing my next book.

Check out this wonderful trailer for Mariah’s book.

I can not wait! And you don’t have to—you can go buy it now and read it before the end of the weekend! Here at Amazon or or wherever you like to buy your books.

And, I’m teaching a rare on-line class. I usually teach only one a year. This one is on romantic suspense for the Kiss of Death chapter. I don’t take remuneration for these type of classes, so all the money goes back to the chapter for their scholarship fund. The more people who take the class the greater chance more scholarships KOD can offer so members can go to the RWA conference! More information here, but if you’re interested don’t wait because it starts on Saturday!

P.S. — A special thanks to Rocki for posting my blog this morning! Some of you may have noticed we’ve had some technical issues. You’ll be happy to know we’re moving providers and getting all this fixed–hopefully it’ll be all done by the end of the weekend! Thanks so much for your patience 🙂