"Banned Books Week (September 26-October 2, 2021) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular."
-- American Library Association
Below is the Tattered Cover list of banned book favorites ranging from picture books to philosophy and everything in between.
BRAVE NEW WORLD
by Aldous Huxley
Brave New World has enthralled and terrified millions of readers, and retains its urgent relevance to this day as both a warning to be heeded as we head into tomorrow and as thought-provoking, satisfying work of literature. The novel of a dystopian future was one of the most complained about books in America last year, with readers protesting over its sexually explicit scenes, "offensive" language and "insensitivity."
THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD
by Zora Neale Hurston
Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN
By Maurice Sendak
The book upset many librarians and adults because its young protagonist, Mickey, was depicted in the nude. Many librarians censored the book by painting diapers over the boy’s genitals, and in some cases the book was even burned.
by Richard Wright
When it exploded onto the literary scene in 1945, Black Boy was both praised and condemned. Orville Prescott of the New York Times wrote that “if enough such books are written, if enough millions of people read them maybe, someday, in the fullness of time, there will be a greater understanding and a more true democracy.” Yet from 1975 to 1978, Black Boy was banned in schools throughout the United States for “obscenity” and “instigating hatred between the races.”
A PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES
by Howard Zinn
Howard Zinn tells the story of America from the perspective of historically marginalized groups, while highlighting many of America's greatest challenges. This book was challenged for depicting America as a rigged system and for failure to examine opposing views.
ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY
by Mildred D. Taylor
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry was among the top 10 most frequently challenged book of 2002 for offensive language. In 2004, a family attempted to have the novel banned from classrooms for its "harsh depictions of racism and its use of racial slurs."
THE LOVELY BONES
by Alice Sebold
THE GLASS CASTLE
by Jeanette Walls
STAMPED FROM THE BEGINNING
by Ibram X. Kendi
The book was banned, challenged, and/or restricted "because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains 'selective storytelling incidents' and does not encompass racism against all people." -- American Literature Association
BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA
by Katherine Paterson
At issue with censors are death being part of the plot, a main characters use of the word “lord” outside of prayer, offensive language, and claims that the book promotes secular humanism, new age religions, the occult, and Satanism. Some critics also claim that the book promotes witchcraft and violence.
MORE FROM THE AMERICAN LITERATURE ASSOCIATION:
TOP 10 MOST CHALLENGED BOOKS
Lists of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books for each year
FREQUENTLY CHALLENGED BOOKS
Explore banned and challenged books by topic, genre, time, and audience
ABOUT BANNED BOOKS WEEK
Learn about the history of the annual event and how you can celebrate