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Annual Banned Book Week

September 22 September 28, 2013

BBW Launched in 1982 11,300+ books have been challenged since 1982

Challenges attempt to remove or restrict materials. Banning is the removal of those materials.
Based on objections of a person or group Restricts access of others

The suppression of ideas and information that certain personsindividuals, groups or government officialsfind objectionable or dangerous. Challenges are often motivated by desire to protect minors from inappropriate material

First Amendment
Guarantees that we have the right to express our views, including opinions about particular books. Children and young adults unquestionably possess First Amendment rights, including the right to receive information through the library in print, nonprint, or digital format. Constitutionally protected speech cannot be suppressed solely to protect children or young adults from ideas or images a legislative body believes to be unsuitable for them.

Protecting our right to free expression demonstrates tolerance and respect for opposing points of view.

Authors Stand Up for Free Speech

What do you think are the most common reasons for book challenges? (Protection from what?) PollEverywhere

From 2001 to 2009 Over the past ten years, American libraries were faced with 5099 challenges. 1,577 challenges due to sexually explicit material 1,291 challenges due to offensive language 989 challenges due to material deemed unsuited to age group 619 challenges due to violence 361 challenges due to homosexuality 291 challenges due to religious viewpoints 274 challenges due to satanic themes 119 challenges due to anti-family themes 1,811 of these challenges were in classrooms 1639 were in school libraries 1217 took place in public libraries 114 were for materials in college classes

Banned/Challenged Books

Top 10 Challenged Books 2012

1. Captain Underpants (series) Offensive language; unsuited to age group The Absolutely True Diary of a PartTime Indian Offensive language; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group Thirteen Reasons Why Drugs/alcohol/smoking; sexually explicit; suicide; unsuited to age group Fifty Shades of Grey Sexually explicit; offensive language And Tango Makes Three Homosexuality; unsuited to age group 6. The Kite Runner Homosexuality; offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit 7. Looking for Alaska Offensive language; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group 8. Scary Stories (series) Unsuited for age group; violent 9. The Glass Castle Offensive language; sexually explicit; 10. Beloved Sexually explicit; religious Viewpoint; violence





*Bold = Books in our library

Top 10 Challenged Books 2011

1. Ttyl; ttfn;l8r, g8r (series)
Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group


Alice (series)
Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
Sexually explicit; offensive language; insensitive Nudity; offensive language; unsuited for age group


The Color of Earth (series)

Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence


Brave New World


Hunger Games (trilogy)


What My Mother Doesnt Know


My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy

Nudity; sex ed.; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group


Gossip Girls (series)

Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part- 10. To Kill a Mockingbird Offensive language; racism Time Indian
offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

*Bold = Books in our library

School District Selection Policy Restricted shelf (library) Citizens request for reconsideration form Ban for that student only (library &/or classroom) Remove totally (library &/or classroom)


2013 Northville M.S. - The Diary of a Young Girl: The Definitive Edition Too graphic; sexual content Retained in classroom 2012 Traverse City West H.S. The Glass Castle (J. Walls) Explicit language; sexual exploits; Retained on reading list
2012 Plymouth-Canton H.S. Beloved (Morrison) & Waterland (G. Swift) Sexual content; violence; offensive language Retained in classroom 2010- Lake Fenton, reading program The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night (Haddon)
Contains foul language Removed from summer reading program

2009 Shelby H.S. Song of Solomon (Morrison) Inappropriate language & sexual content Retained in classroom 2008, Wyandotte H.S. - The Bookseller of Kabul (Seierstad) Considered pornographic Revised Media selection guidelines. Students 17 & under need signed permission slip to read it. 2008 Clawson M.S. My Sisters Keeper (Picoult) Too racy Removed from classrooms

Books part of HHS Language Arts Curriculum

Literary Merit
Qualities we value in a piece of writing that would make it a productive use of our time or not. Evaluating isnt just do we like it or not Does the piece match up to a set standard of expectations?

Literary Merit
Long standing value Themes are universal
Address essential issues of humanity

Characters are relatable like real people

gives an in-depth characterization and analysis/portrayal of the relationships involved (usually through the plot)

Narrative richly developed

Interesting, memorable plot Text makes exemplary us of conventions of language Text stands out in some way, possibly groundbreaking or challenging the status quo

Significant cultural value Social Capital

Text becomes a cultural point of reference. Many people allude to the text (in music, movies, TV, conversations, etc.)

9th Grade Novels Theme: Individual Growth

Presents a fortieth anniversary edition of the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel in which Scout Finch, the young daughter of a local attorney in the Deep South during the 1930s, tells of her father's defense of a black man charged with the rape of a white girl.

Reasons for Challenge:

Racial slurs Profanity
Retained in the English curriculum by the Cherry Hill, NJ Board of Education (2007). A resident had objected to the novels depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression. The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it. Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word nigger."

A tale of deadly enmity, irresistible love, secret marriage and heart-breaking tragedy

Reasons for Challenge:

Glorifies Teenage sex Drugs Teen suicide Literary Merit

Themes of love vs. lust, prejudice, fate, friendship and communication

Literary analysis contains figurative language, irony (verbal, situational & dramatic), foreshadowing, conflict, elements of a tragedy) Allusions to in modern day society


Aliens have attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed the human species. To ensure victory in the next encounter, the world government is breeding and training military geniuses to fight. Reasons for Challenge:
Profanity Sexual themes

Anti-adult themes


Presents an autobiography describing the author's struggles against the dehumanizing southern social environment of the Jim Crow South.
Reasons for Challenge: Obscenity Instigates hatred

Literary Merit:
illustrates real life situations that have an empathic influence on

the way we feel and see the

world through the eyes of the author

10th Grade Novels Theme: Power & Justice


A young girl living in a Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago ponders the advantages and disadvantages of her environment and evaluates her relationships with family and friends.
Reason for Challenge: Themes of

Sex Racism


A three-act play concerned with the tensions in a middle-class African American family living on Chicago's Southside in the 1950s.
Reason for Challenge: Banned in Ogden, Utah in 1979, after a complaint by an anti-pornography organization. Degrading to African Americans Literary Merit: illustrates real life situations that have an empathic influence on the way we feel and see the world through the eyes of the author Characterization

Summary: Amir, haunted by his betrayal of Hassan, the son of his father's servant and a childhood friend, returns to Kabul as an adult after he learns Hassan has been killed, in an attempt to redeem himself by rescuing Hassan's son from a life of slavery to a Taliban official. Reasons for Challenge: Offensive language Sexually explicit Unsuited to age group

Literary Merit:

illustrates real life situations that have an

empathic influence on the way we feel and see the world through the eyes of the author


Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.
Reasons for Challenge: Profanity (300+ vulgarities) Violence

Sexual explicitness
Literary Merit: illustrates real life situations that have

an empathic influence on the way we

feel and see the world through the eyes of the author

11th Grade Novels Theme: Marginalization

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Native American is the school mascot.
This New York Times bestseller won the National Book Award in 2007 in the Young Peoples Literature category.

Reasons for Challenge:

Vulgar/profane Racist

Sexual explicitness

Against the backdrop of the seventeenth-century Salem witch trials, a woman extracts revenge against her married paramour by charging that he and his wife are sorcerers.

Reason for Challenge

Contains sick words from the mouths of demonpossessed people

Summary: An African-American woman searches for a fulfilling relationship through two loveless marriages and finally finds it in the person of Tea Cake, an itinerant laborer and gambler.

Reason for Challenge:

Sexual explicitness Inappropriate language

Literary Merit:
illustrates real life situations that have an empathic influence on the way we feel and see the world through the eyes of the author


Huck, in flight from his murderous father, and Jim, in flight from slavery, pilot their raft down the Mississippi River in search of freedom.
Reason for Challenge: Racist

Obscene language
Offensive language Improper grammar 1975 publishing companies substituted a certain word with servant and slave


Sustained by the hope of someday owning a farm of their own, two migrant laborers arrive to work on a ranch in central California. Reasons for Challenge:
Offensive Profanity (vulgar)

Blasphemous (Lords name used in vain)

Unpatriotic Sexual overtones
Retained in the Olathe, KS Ninth grade curriculum (2007) despite a parent calling the novel a worthless, profanity-riddled book which is derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.


Pulitzer Prize-winning play concerned with the despair of a 63year-old traveling salesman when he is forced to face the reality he has evaded all his life.

Reason for Challenge: challenged as junk by parents

Tells the tragic love story of Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan, a dashing, enigmatic millionaire obsessed with an elusive, spoiled young woman.

Reason for Challenge:

Offensive language Sexual references


An adolescent boy, knowing he is about to be dropped by his school, spends three days and nights in New York City. Reasons for Challenge:
Sexual situations Immorality

785 dirty words Communist

Summerville, SC (2001) because it "is a filthy, filthy book." Challenged by a Glynn County, GA (2001) school board member because of profanity. The novel was retained. Challenged in the Big Sky High School in Missoula, MT (2009).

(Lit Circle Option)

Charlie, a freshman in high school, explores the dilemmas of growing up through a collection of letters he sends to an unknown receiver. Reasons for Challenge: Homosexuality Sexually explicit

Offensive language
Unsuited to age group Literary Merit:

illustrates real life situations that have

an empathic influence on the way we feel and see the world through the eyes of the author

(Lit Circle Option) Summary:

Sixteen-year-old Miles' first year at Culver Creek Preparatory School in Alabama includes good friends and great pranks, but is defined by the search for answers about life and death after a fatal car crash. Reasons for Challenge:
Pornographic Inappropriate for age group Contains issues regarding sex, drugs & death

(Lit Circle Option) Summary: The daily class discussions about the nature of man, the existence of God, abortion, organized religion, suicide and other contemporary issues serve as a backdrop for a high-school senior's attempt to answer a friend's dramatic cry for help. Reasons for Challenge:

Pervasively vulgar

(Lit Circle Option) Summary:

Eighteen-year-old Lia comes to terms with her best friend's death from anorexia as she struggles with the same disorder.
Reasons for Challenge: Immoral

Glamorizes eating disorders

12th Grade

Summary: In nineteenth-century England, a young orphan boy lives in the squalid surroundings of a workhouse until he becomes involved with a gang of thieves. Reasons for Challenge: Contains religious bias

Laurie Halse Anderson

Works Cited
"About Banned & Challenged Books." American Library Association. N.p., Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. "Banned Books Week." Banned Books Week., Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. "Free Access to Libraries for Minors." American Library Association. N.p., Sept. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. "Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century." American Library Association. N.p., 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. Lue, Maurielle. "Passages in Unedited Version of Anne Frank Diary Causing Stir - Fox 2 News Headlines." Passages in Unedited Version of Anne Frank Diary Causing Stir - Fox 2 News Headlines. N.p., 23 Apr. 2013. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. "Michigan School Board Rejects Book Ban Request." CBS Detroit. N.p., 11 Dec. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. "Plymouth-Canton Parents, Teachers State Cases in Book Challenge. Plymouth-Canton Patch. N.p., 21 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Oct. 2013.

Your Turn
Use your independent reading selection to take a position to retain or ban the book.

Its not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers. Judy Blume