Banning books – the age-old way to quiet up authors when someone is afraid of simple words strung together.
Books have been banned for decades with some books, like The Lord of the Rings, being banned for things such as “witchcraft” and “evil.” It doesn’t take much in a book to make someone, somewhere angry, and when it comes to our libraries and schools, those books get challenged. And sometimes outright banned.
We’ve even seen in recent news, US States that are prohibiting books based on whether or not they are “pornographic,” yet there is no real qualifier for a book to be such. There are also parents deeming nonfiction material as being too pornographic when in reality it isn’t.
And if you want to see Lydia Hulk-out, start trying to ban a book.
Well, as you can see, I have a bit of a “passion” for banned books aka I love spreading the gospel of reading books deemed “unfit” for society. So, I decided that I would take this chance to combine the IGGPPC’s September theme with the last week of September aka Banned Books Week.
Let’s head to banned book fictional school!
1. Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
Holden Caulfield has become an icon for high school rebellion, and this book is often one embraced by tons of counterculture people. It starts out with Holden in school and follows him as he gets expelled from his current school and his adventures that come after.
Simply put, it is a coming of age story, but one that people want to censor often. Catcher in the Rye has a long list of challenges and bans starting in 1960. The reasons range from the sexuality in the book to the popularized belief that it was the book all psycho/sociopaths loved.
2. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Do we even need to approach why this book was so challenged and banned? The huge claim when the book was released, especially in America, was that it contained *gasp* witchcraft. It was surrounded by controversy from day one, but thankfully that seems to be dying down. Mostly.
We all know what Harry Potter is about, don’t we? I think so. If not, go watch some Potter Puppet Pals for an intro, head to your local used bookstore, or wait for another ABC Family marathon.
3. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Have you read this book? If so, you’re probably like me and wondering, “why the frig was it banned/challenged?” It’s such a great book.
However, between 1990 and 1999, The Giver ranked at number 11 for most frequent challenges or bans. It slipped to number 23 between 2000-2009, just below To Kill a Mockingbird. Why?
The biggest reason for banning is people believing it to be unsuitable for the age group with many others saying it is a violent book. Other claims are due to being “sexually explicit” and religious viewpoints.
In The Giver, we enter a world that is a seeming utopia, full of great things. However, it is a pretty dark dystopia, and only one person knows just how dark and colorless.
We meet Jonas, who is about to turn 12, which is when people find out just what they will do with their lives. He gets his task and meets the Giver, and it is there that Jonas learns what everyone is missing: color, happiness, snow, and even the negatives of war, pain, and starvation.
If you haven’t read the book, I won’t go further and spoil it – it really is a great read.
4. Carrie by Stephen King
Carrie was frequently challenged when it came out, and many school libraries didn’t, and don’t, have it in their selection. Language, violence, and being unsuitable for the age group are often why this book is banned or challenged. And, there are some who’ve challenged it based on negative views on religion.
We all know a bit of the premise of this story – a young girl is terribly bullied at school and then she finds out she has some rather crazy powers. She learned to control them, and eventually uses them to get back at everyone in her school and town.
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book is the quintessential story for high schoolers and is well loved by so many people for its truth and power. It really is an incredible book, but there are many who disagree with me.
This book has been challenged several times, and some have done their best to ban it. The reasons people have given are due to drugs, sex, violence, homosexuality, language, and being sexually explicit.
Regardless of people aiming to ban it because they don’t like some parts of the story and characters, the book has had a huge impact.
Banning books isn’t something that is going to go away soon, but thankfully more and more people are becoming aware of the problems surrounding banning a book.
Challenges will always be given, and they’ll always be met with people standing up for and supporting authors.
What are some of your favorite banned books? Any from a fictional school that I missed?