Banned Books Week 2012: 10 Most Challenged Titles

Censorship is alive and well, as highlighted by Banned Books Week—and you might be surprised by who the most vocal challengers of books are.

The importance of the First Amendment and the concept of "intellectual freedom" might not always be readily apparent to most kids, but Banned Books Week is a great opportunity to make those lessons come alive for children—and adults.

Banned Books Week is held annually during the last week of September (Sept. 30-Oct. 6). The week is an occasion for libraries and bookstores across the U.S. to help folks realize just how real and ongoing a problem censorship is.

You can celebrate Banned Book Week by visiting the Glendora Public Library. The library is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and Saturday, and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday and Friday, according to the library website.

Be sure to follow Glendora Patch on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook.

More than 11,000 books have been challenged (though not necessarily successfully censored) since 1982, the inaugural year of Banned Books Week. According to the American Library Association (ALA), the vast majority of challenges to books are initiated locally by parents, likely in well-meaning attempts to protect their children. 

Last year, there were 326 challenges reported to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, based on everything from offensive language, to violence, insensitivity, religious viewpoint and sexual explicitness. In addition to those challenges, the ALA estimates that as many as 60 to 70 percent of challenges may go unreported.

Over the past year, the 10 most challenged titles were:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle 

2. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa

3. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins

4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

6. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

8. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

9. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Among banned and challenged classics you’re likely familiar with are:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses by James Joyce
  • The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Animal Farm and 1984 by George Orwell
  • The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway
  • Beloved and Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  • In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

If you’re interested in celebrating Banned Books Week as part of a lesson for your kids—or simply to feel like a rebellious reader—check out these additional resources:

TELL US: Do you think books should be banned from schools, bookstores or libraries?

v johnson October 01, 2012 at 04:06 PM
No. One should be given the Right to make their own decision, to read or not to read. There was a time when something was found offensive, then one could boycott but to take our Right away from us is UnAmerican. One should have the Right to Say, Write or Read, I fear Our Country is slowly losing our Freedom to do so.
Steven Hanson October 01, 2012 at 04:14 PM
When I administrated a High School Media Center I could always count on "Banned Books" week to bring the students in. The idea of a "forbidden" book has it's allure with teens. Also banned often: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Harry Potter books, The Bible, Forever by Judy Blume, and any book that has anything to do with sexuality, feminist empowerment and the "gay" agenda is always suspect in some communities. Hopefully, we see less of such censorship in California than in some areas.
MDGDA October 01, 2012 at 08:45 PM
I read this three times, but I am still confused. It's called "Banned Book Week" right? What books are banned and who banned them? Schools? Government? Book Stores? There is a small mention that NO books have actually been censored under the large bold headline that insinuates some books have been banned. I am against the banning of any book. I am also against misleading statement made to work people up. Maybe it should be called, "Books Some People Have Complained About Week that are not Banned 2012."
Steven Hanson October 01, 2012 at 10:46 PM
The books on the list have been banned by school districts, city councils and communities across the nation. The list can vary from place to place.The week focuses on books that have been banned throughout the U.S.; from past to present. It's an ever-changing list.


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