Banned Books Week: Celebrate YOUR Freedom To Read

Do you have a favorite children's book?  What about an adult book that you love? The other day I was standing in Vroman's Bookstore in Pasadena facing a wall display with hundred of books that have been either challenged or banned.  You might be surprised at what was up there.  Did you love the Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder?  Yep, that was challenged.  How about Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl or maybe any Roald Dahl book?  Yep, those have been challenged and banned too.  What about The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein?  You may be scratching your head and saying who would ban the Giving Tree?!  Well someone out there has and did.

According to the ALA website: Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

When I first heard of Banned Books Week, I was amazed.  Having grown up in a home where my reading was never censored the concept of preventing a child or even an adult from choosing what they could or couldn't read stymied me.  I can understand electing not to read a book that you don't feel comfortable with but trying to prevent others from reading that same book angered me.  As a child, I learned some important and valuable lessons from books that have frequently been challenged or banned.  And some of my all time favorite authors appear to repeatedly make the list of challenged books.  Katherine Paterson, Judy Blume, Laurie Halse Anderson are talented and insightful authors who have chosen to take on the task of writing stories that address powerful and sometimes unpleasant topics. However, I can not imagine a world without powerful books that make us sit up and think.

Below is a list of some of the books (in no particular order) that I have read that have been challenged or banned. I have shared my list.  Now what would be on your list? 

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anne Frank: The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank
Vroman's Banned Books Wall
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
Jacob, I have Loved by Katherine Paterson
Girl With a Peal Earring by Tracy Chevalier
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
Black Boy by Richard Wright
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings - Maya Angelou
Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyers
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - Mark Twain
Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
Harry Potter (series) - J.K. Rowling
Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson
The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
The Giver - Lois Lowry
The Color Purple - Alice Walker
The Great Gilly Hopkins - Katherine Paterson
A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle
Go Ask Alice - Anonymous
Blubber - Judy Blume
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
The Outsiders - S.E. Hinton
Flowers for Algernon - Daniel Keyes
A Light in the Attic - Shel Silverstein
James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - Judy Blume
Native Son - Richard Wright
Where's Waldo? - Martin Hanford
Little Black Sambo - Helen Bannerman
How to Eat Fried Worms - Thomas Rockwell

What's your favorite book? Chances are good that someone has tried to ban it. Celebrate YOUR freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 25 to October 2. For more information, visit