Tag Archives: American Library Association

Banned Books Week 2013

ALA Seal

ALA Seal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Banned Books vs. Challenged Books

When a book is banned it is removed from a collection. A challenge is an objection raised by groups or a person to a book and is an attempt to remove the book from a collection or school curriculum. Banning restricts access of all citizens to those books that are banned.

“The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them. The following is a list of frequently asked questions on banned and challenged books:” Source: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/about

Banned Books week  September 22-28, 2013 featured many events across the county. Of particular note Bill Moyers, the host of “Moyers & Company” a long-time supporter of Banned Books Week, has produced a video essay addressing the importance of our freedom to seek and express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. “Censorship is the enemy of truth, even more than a lie,” said Bill Moyers. “A lie can be exposed; censorship can prevent us from knowing the difference.”

The Lawrence Public Library won the 2013 John Cotton Dana Award for its Banned Book Trading Cards. Their Facebook page contains the cards and a picture of the author.


Out of 464 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom the following contains the titles and authors of the ten most frequently challenged books in 2012:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

Source: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10

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