10-27-2016  1:51 am      •     
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To recognize the work of censors everywhere, the American Library Association holds the annual Banned Books Week from Sept. 26 to Oct. 3. The purpose of Banned Books Week is to celebrate the freedom to read books – even books considered inappropriate, risqué or downright blasphemous.
In today's world of easily accessible information, most books that are removed from shelves or the subject of challenges take place in schools. People largely want to ban books that talk about sex or violence or racism or that insult their religion. Largely, they do it in the name of protecting children from unfavorable ideas. The vast majority of the "most challenged" and censored books are considered classics and are a vital part of literature.
In 1982, Banned Books Week began in response to a large number of challenges to books. Since its inception, there have been thousands of challenges in every state and they continue to this day. Black authors have also been the subject of many challenges and bans throughout the years (see below for a list of frequently challenged books by Black authors).
Visit www.bannedbooksweek.org for more information.

The Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2008:
1. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
2. "His Dark Materias" trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
3. "TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R" (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
4. "Scary Stories" (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
5. "Bless Me, Ultima," by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
6. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
7. "Gossip Girl" (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
8. "Uncle Bobby's Wedding," by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
9. "The Kite Runner," by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
10. "Flashcards of My Life," by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group
(List compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom)

Some frequently challenged books by Black authors:

1) "The Learning Tree" by Gordon Parks – challenged for violence, obscene language, explicit description of premarital intercourse, religious blasphemies.
2) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou – challenged for description of teenage sexuality, homosexuality, rape, drug abuse and torture.
3) "The Color Purple" by Alice Walker – challenged for profanity, drug abuse, sexually explicit material and torture.
4) "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison – challenged for sexual content. Morrison has several of her novels on the list of 100 most banned or challenged books of all time.
5) "Native Son" by Richard Wright – challenged for sex and violence.
6) "Tar Beach" by Faith Ringgold – challenged for African American stereotypes that were based off the true memories of the author's 1930s family picnics.
7) "Things Fall Apart" by Chinua Achebe
8) "Invisible Man" by Ralph Ellison
9) "Their Eyes Were Watching God" by Zora Neale Hurston
10) "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers – challenged for racism, sexual content, drugs and violence.

Honorable Mention: "To Kill a Mockingbird" by Harper Lee



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