The Times West Virginian

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September 24, 2013

Racism, sex and drugs: Here are 10 frequently-banned books

Banned Book Week, September 22-28, celebrates the "freedom to read" and promotes awareness of censorship in schools and libraries. Here are 10 of the more well-known challenged books, out of the hundreds listed by the American Library Association.

 

 

What are the top reasons books are banned or challenged? Offensive language, sexual content, religious material and content deemed "inappropriate for the age group."

"The Catcher in the Rye", J.D. Salinger,

"The Catcher in the Rye," is frequently removed from classrooms and school libraries because it is “unacceptable,” “obscene,” “blasphemous,” “negative,” “foul,” “filthy,” and “undermines morality.”

"Uncle Tom's Cabin," Harriet Beecher Stowe

The historically accurate representation of the treatment of slaves in America has resulted in multiple challenges from would-be censors.

 

 

"Daddy’s Roommate," Michael Willhoite

The book, which deals with having a homosexual parent, was the second most challenged book in 1990-1999. "Heather Has Two Mommies" by Lesléa Newman, portrayed the same scenario with a lesbian couple and was also among the top ten most challenged books of the 90s.

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou's 1969 autobiography, dealing with issues like rape and racism, is among one of the most banned books in the United States.

"The Great Gatsby," F. Scott Fitzgerald

Often called the great American novel, "The Great Gatsby" is among the most challenged and banned books. Would-be censors cite "language and sexual references" in the book.

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," Sherman Alexie.

Sherman Alexie's young adult novel has been drawing attention for depictions of sexuality, racism, violence, substance abuse and poverty.

"Fahrenheit 451," Ray Bradbury

The dystopian novel about censorship and the burning of books ironically makes the list for most challenged books in America.

Venado Middle school in Irvine, Calif. allowed only a version of the book in which all the “hells” and “damns” were blacked out. Other challengers have complained the book violated their religious beliefs.

"The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," Mark Twain

Twain's book remains one of the most challenged of all time, with objectors claiming the book promotes racism and contains offensive language.

"Howl and other poems," Allen Ginsberg,

Depictions of homosexuality have earned "Howl" a number of challenges.

Harry Potter (series), J.K. Rowling

Every book in the wizarding series of novels has been challenged, primarily by religious groups believing the book's magical world to be Satanic.

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