WHAT DO the Harry Potter books, Little Red Riding Hood and Of Mice and Men have in common.
They are all on the list of the most often Banned and Challenged books of the 1990’s and 21st century to date. In fact the lists read more like a book shop’s bestseller list, than a list of titles that people are unhappy with. Many h ave also been recognised as some of the most influential and important books, making it onto lists of recommended titles.
Some of the lists can be found online at Forbidden Library or at the American Library Association Banned Books week site
Internationally books that have been published and are acceptable in one country, are not in another. Many countries have banned David Irving’s books and he himself was banned from entering New Zealand in 2004 (find out more about that at http://www.fpp.co.uk/newzealand/index.html).
The publicity for Banned Books Week in America included this article from the Los Angeles Times (23 Sept)
GET hooked on a banned book. That's the American Library Assn.'s mantra for Banned Books Week, which begins Saturday.
Part of living in a democracy means respecting each other's differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read," Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in a statement.
In 2006, there were 546 reported challenges to remove books from library shelves, most (61%) made by parents and most (71%) involving schools.Topping the list was "And Tango Makes Three," a tale of two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin. Toni Morrison's novels "Beloved" and "The Bluest Eye" also made the list, but the most challenged books of the 21st century remain J.K. Rowling's "Harry Potter" novels.
A word of warning however. What caused a book to be banned or challenged in the past, may not be so radical or exciting today. While it is easy to understand the thought processes behind a challenge on George Orwell's "1984" or Kurt Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse 5", it is less easy to understand that "Black Beauty" and "Where's Wally" have both been the subject of bans at some stage.
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