Yesterday marked the start of Banned Books Week for 2015. It’s a pretty big deal to me because I find it incredibly disturbing that books are STILL being banned in the 21st century. Seems like something that should have gone out of style with witch hunts, or at least McCarthyism. I spend a lot of time reading over all the resources on the Banned Books Week website. I highly recommend checking it out. This year, I’m sharing the most surprising (to me) banned books of the last five years. Then read on for more resources and ideas for Banned Books Weeks.
Most Surprising Banned & Challenged Books of the Last Five Years
- Captain Underpants by Dav Pikey– because of “offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.” Now, if you’ve ever read this with your child, the most “offensive” language revolves around poop and bodily functions. The violence? I can’t see it. They do fight the incredibly comical, weird bad guy, but I wouldn’t call it any more violent than The Smurfs or anything we grew up with. It’s definitely well-suited to its age group! My son loves these books. They got him reading chapter books in the first place.
- Fifty Shades of Grey: for the obvious reasons that people get all out of sorts about (nudity, sex, etc), but what really surprised me was the “unsuited for age group” part. Um, it’s targeted towards adults. So now the psycho busy body “censor the world” people want to decide what adults can read as well? I haven’t read it, not my thing. Not my right to tell other people that it can’t be their thing though.
- The Hunger Games: for “religious viewpoint.” What religious viewpoint? Did someone read it and see their religion reflected int the capitol, then worry that people would get ideas about overthrowing it? I don’t get it.
- My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler: for sex education, sexually explicit language, nudity, unsuited to age group. Um, it’s a sex education book. Most of the time, it would be a parent checking this out or buying it for their child, to explain the wonders of pregnancy. I’m actually interested in seeing this one, it might help me figure out a better way to explain where babies come from to Jake than my super clinical, confusing way.
- Twilight: For religious viewpoint and violence. Not because it teaches teen girls to pine away for months and become despondent when their boyfriend doesn’t return their calls, then throw away their entire lives (literally) at 18 to become undead, then let a werewolf get creepy close to their newborn. Seriously, has no one else thought about all the other things that are wrong with Twilight? I admit, I read every book in a week and thought I loved them. Until I started to re-read them. I got sucked in the first time around. The second time…so many issues came popping out at me. Still, not a reason to ban them!
- Hop on Pop by Dr. Suess: Because it encourages children to use violence against their fathers. I have no further comment.
Check out the infographic below for more banned and challenged books from 2015. Click on it to go to a larger PDF version.
More Banned Books Week Resources
Check out all the most frequently challenged book lists from the 21st century. You’ll notice that a lot of books repeat on the lists. Brave New World, Huck Finn, Of Mice and Men and a few others are constantly challenged, even decades after they were written.
Don’t miss the celebrity videos, with authors like Judy Blume and stars (also an author) like Whoppi Goldberg talking about their favorite banned books!
This year’s Virtual Read Out is on a dedicated You Tube channel. Check out celebs, librarians and average people reading their favorite banned or challenged books.
I did a post on my favorite Quotes from Banned Books a couple years ago, where you can also read more of my opinion on the subject.
Finally, check out the page of promotional materials for Facebook covers, Twibbons and more to show your support for the week!