Do we still have books banned today?

Every year the united states tries to “challenge” hundreds of books or remove them from the shelves of our nation based around literary freedom.

With so many freedoms it is hard to believe that the public tries to silence authors when they share the stories of their lives with the American public, no matter what the experience may be. In fact, this has happened all throughout the 20th century and still occurs today.

And it isn’t even the reason that they are new publications just reaching bookstores and readers, but many of them come from decades in the past during this one week every year

Despite the freedom of speech in the U.S. there is still a list of banned books in our nation…

Some of those that have occurred over time include the following:

1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (2007), by Sherman Alexie – A fourteen-year-old boy leaves the Spokane Indian Reservation he grew up on, to attend an all-white high school. Reasons for challenge: “Anti-family,” cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling. Following parents’ complaints, this National Book Award winner was taken off the 2014 supplemental reading being “viewed as anti-Christian.” 

2) Persepolis (2004), by Marjane Satrapi – About growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Reasons for challenge: Gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. The graphic novel was challenged in Chatham, Illinois but has yet to be removed from the high school reading list. In 2013 the book was banned from 7th grade classrooms in the Chicago public school system.

3) And Tango Makes Three (2005), Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell – Synopsis: Based on the true story of two male penguins who raised a baby penguin together, And Tango Makes Three is a picture book aimed at 2- to 5-year-olds. Reasons for challenge: “Anti-family,” homosexuality, political and religious viewpoints. The book has appeared on the ALA’s list seven times in the decade since it was published.

4) The Bluest Eye (1970), by Toni Morrison – Morrison’s first novel, about a young black girl who grows up in a violent, sexually abusive home and wishes desperately to be white. Reasons for challenge: Sexually explicit, “controversial issues.” 

5) It’s Perfectly Normal (1994), by Robie Harris – An illustrated guide for kids 10 and up on topics like puberty, sexual orientation, and sexual health.Reasons for challenge: Nudity, sexually explicit. This is the book’s fourth year on the ALA’s top 10 list, but so far this year there have been no known bans.

6) Saga (2012), by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples – A space opera graphic novel series about the love between two (straight) soldiers from opposite sides of a war and life with the daughter they raise. Reasons for challenge: Anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit.

7) The Kite Runner (2003), by Khaled Hosseini – A story about the friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of the family servant, set against the backdrop of political tumult in Afghanistan beginning in the 1970s.Reasons for challenge: Offensive language, violence. 

8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower (1990), by Stephen Chbosky – An introverted high schooler is befriended by two seniors and learns about sex, drugs, and mental health. Reasons for challenge: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, mentions of date rape and masturbation. In 2013 the book was taken out of 8th-grade classrooms in Glen Ellyn, IL, and in 2015, it was removed from the freshman English curriculum in Wallingford, CT. But, both were overturned.

9) A Stolen Life (2011), by Jaycee Dugard – Memoir about her experience after being kidnapped at 11 and held captive for the next 18 years. Reasons for challenge: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit. The book was removed from 7th-grade classroom libraries and taken off an elective reading list in Michigan’s Northview public middle school system.

10) Drama (2012), by Raina Telgemeier – A graphic novel about a middle school theater stage crew and their various crushes and relationship drama. Reasons for challenge: Sexually explicit, homosexuality. The book was removed from Texas’ Chapel Hill Elementary School library.

With all of these, there is so much to consider…especially knowing that I have loved so many banned books from years of the modern period, most commonly Henry Miller’s Tropic of Cancer. There is so much more to read considering my eye for the troublesome content!


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