Thursday, September 22, 2022

Banned Books Week 2022 - Some challenged favorites

The National Council of Teachers of English has compiled an eight page list of the works it has defended from 2002 - 2018. The sheer number of works...books, comics, films...on this list is astounding!

You can check out the link here.

Below is a list of some of my favorite books and the reason(s) they were banned/challenged.

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Burned in Alamagordo, NM (2001) outside Christ Community Church along with other Tolkien novels as satanic.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Challenged in Eden Valley, MN (1977) and temporarily banned due to words "damn" and "whore lady" used in the novel.
  • Challenged in the Vernon Verona Sherill, NY School District (1980) as a "filthy, trashy novel."
  • Challenged at the Warren, IN Township schools (1981) because the book does "psychological damage to the positive integration process" and "represents institutionalized racism under the guise of good literature." After unsuccessfully trying to ban Lee's novel, three black parents resigned from the township human relations advisory council.
  • Challenged in the Waukegan, IL School District (1984) because the novel uses the word "nigger."
  • Challenged in the Kansas City, MO junior high schools (1985). Challenged at the Park Hill, MO Junior High School (1985) because the novel "contains profanity and racial slurs." Retained on a supplemental eighth grade reading list in the Casa Grande, AZ Elementary School District (1985), despite the protests by black parents and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People who charged the book was unfit for junior high use.
  • Challenged at the Santa Cruz, CA Schools (1995) because of its racial themes. Removed from the Southwood High School Library in Caddo Parish, LA (1995) because the book's language and content were objectionable.
  • Challenged at the Moss Point, MS School District (1996) because the novel contains a racial epithet.
  • Banned from the Lindale, TX advanced placement English reading list (1996) because the book "conflicted with the values of the community."
  • Challenged by a Glynn County, GA (2001) School Board member because of profanity. The novel was retained. Returned to the freshman reading list at Muskogee, OK High School (2001) despite complaints over the years from black students and parents about racial slurs in the text.
  • Challenged in the Normal, IL Community High School's sophomore literature class (2003) as being degrading to African Americans.
  • Challenged at the Stanford Middle School in Durham, NC (2004) because the 1961 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel uses the word "nigger."
  • Challenged at the Brentwood, TN Middle School (2006) because the book contains “profanity” and “contains adult themes such as sexual intercourse, rape, and incest.” The complainants also contend that the book’s use of racial slurs promotes “racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy.”
  • Retained in the English curriculum by the Cherry Hill, NJ Board of Education (2007). A resident had objected to the novel’s depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression. The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it.
  • Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “nigger."
The Stand by Stephen King
  • Reason: "sexual language, casual sex, and violence"2002-2003 
  • The Brookeland ISD reported that all Stephen King books were banned in all district schools.
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  • Cleburne High School - Parents say novel pornographic
Earth's Children series, The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean M. Auel
  • Most common reason: Banned for sexual references, which were described vividly.
  • A specific instance: Challenged, but retained from the Moorpark High School recommended reading list in Simi Valley, Calif. (1993) despite objections that it contains "hardcore graphic sexual content." Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Mar. 1994, p. 70; May 1994, p. 99.
Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel
  • Challenged at the Arrowhead High School in Merton, Wis. (2004) as an elective reading list assignment by a parent because the book contains “sexually explicit and inappropriate material.”

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