If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you might have noticed I featured a different book everyday last week in honor of Banned Books Week. The picture above is the books that I could easily find in my house that have been “challenged” and, in some cases, officially banned from school or public libraries.
I feel very fortunate that I grew up in a house where I was encouraged to read whatever I wanted. I read Judy Blume’s Then Again Maybe I Won’t long before I was old enough to understand anything about it. To put that in perspective, when it discussed the main character having a dream about a girl and waking up with wet sheets, I thought he had a bladder-control issue. Spoiler alert: not his bladder!
I’m very proud that I have passed my love for reading down to my children. Some of the books in the picture belong to them. Others belonged to me, but I had to take them from my teenagers’ shelves for the picture.
In case you missed the posts on social media, I’m reposting them here with some bonus books that I wasn’t able to feature last week.
I adored this book as a child. A family friend bought it for me and would read it with me. It and Where the Sidewalk Ends are the first hardcover books I remember owning. It was challenged on the grounds it promoted disobedience and violence in children. Guess I missed that message.
Judy Blume is my idol. I’ve had the honor of meeting her and she is just as great in person as you’d hope she’d be. She wrote Forever for her daughter who wanted a book where teenagers have sex and nothing catastrophic happens. It was published in 1975. Challenged for sexual content and offensive language, it is number 7 on the ALA’s list of most challenged books between 1990-2000
Can we talk about the irony of banning a book that is about banning books? Challenged for vulgarity, one school even gave out copies with the swear words blacked out.
We all have that one book, right? The one that we never forget reading for the first time—that we can talk about forever and stays with us long after the last page. Fahrenheit 451 is that book for my youngest daughter. I can remember when she was first reading it for high school English. She would come home every day excited and ready to talk about it. Everything in the above picture is hers. Below are quotes from a conversation we had when I told her I was featuring it as a banned book. I agree with her fully. Books should make us think.
I cannot describe the influence this book (and many others by this author) had on my life and desire to become a writer. Challenged for violence, drug use and alcohol use, and teen smoking. I am proud to say my teens love this one as much as I did.
The quote below is the first and last line of the book. I can still recite it from memory.
A few I didn’t get to feature:
I’ve blogged before about why this is one of my all-time favorite books. You can read that here. Since it’s publication in 1962, A Wrinkle in Time has consistently been challenged for undermining religious beliefs. That is not something I ever noticed in the multiple times I have read it. And, no, I still haven’t watched the movie.
First a warning: this book will rip your heart out and stomp on it. My third grade teacher read this aloud to the class. One of the few days I was ever absent in elementary school, I missed a huge plot twist…and then I cried. This book was challenged for profanity, references to witchcraft, setting a bad example, and presenting a negative view on life.
According to the Amazon listing, this is one of the most controversial YA books of all-time. I would definitely believe that. Challenged (and frequently banned) for nudity, offensive language, and sexual content, I remember picking this book up in a Walden’s (remember those?) strictly because I was intrigued by the blurb. That drew me into the world of Robert Cormier (another hugely influential writer for me.) This was my Fahrenheit 451. The first book I remember where everything wasn’t okay in the end.
If you want to lose a few hours going down a rabbit hole of “I loved that book! Why would anyone ever challenge it?”, check out these resources:
Then come over to my Facebook page or leave a comment here and tell me about your favorite banned book.