Banned Books Week

The American Library Association and the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression in tandem with nationwide booksellers, authors, and publishers groups dedicate one week each year to celebrate everyone’s freedom to read by alerting readers to some of the books that have been targeted for censorship in the past.

Because of “the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections,” says the ALA Banned Books Week Web site,  most of the books were ultimately not banned or restricted.

Notable challenged books and the reasons they were challenged:

  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier for using offensive language, being sexually explicit, and portraying violence
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain for racism
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker for portraying homosexuality, using offensive language, and being sexually explicit
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou for being sexually explicit
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak for portraying nudity, using offensive language, and being sexually explicit
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck for using offensive language, and portraying racism and violence
  • Any Harry Potter book by J. K. Rowling for portraying the occult, Satanism, and violence

Banned Book Week highlights the importance of First Amendment rights.


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