Everything You Need to Know to Celebrate Banned Books Week

Each year since 1982, the American Library Association has commemorated Banned Books Week. The week, beginning on September 21 and ending September 27th, is intended to “celebrate the freedom to read…the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

The American Library Association list of most challenged books of 2014 won’t be available until next year, but you can still find lists from as far back as 2001. Last year’s most challenged book was Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey, a series of children’s novels published by Scholastic. In fact, Captain Underpants was the most frequently banned book in 2013 and 2012. Captain Underpants was most frequently challenged for being unsuitable for the target age group, offensive language and violence.

Popular young adult novel series, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, is the fifth most challenged book for religious viewpoint and being unsuitable for the target age group. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky was banned for similar reasons, as well as homosexuality and depicting drug and alcohol abuse.

Also making a second appearance on the list is of banned books, the popular “mommy porn” series Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Fifty Shades of Grey was banned in some libraries for offensive language, nudity, religion viewpoint, and being unsuitable for the target age group.

If you prefer classic literature, there is no shortage of them on the list of banned books. The most frequently banned book is The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. Comic book and graphic novel fans shouldn’t feel left out. Entertainment Weekly released a list of 10 graphic novels on the list of banned books.

All of these books are classics, and all are on the list of most frequently banned classics.

One of the graphic novels on the list, Bone by Jeff Smith, was the 10th most frequently banned book of 2013, according to the American Library Association. The reason the series was banned is murky, with some citing racism, violence, and political viewpoint, while others cite the cigarette and alcohol use of one character. Of course, there is also the perennial banned book favorite: the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling.

However you chose to celebrate, enjoy Banned Books Week. Happy reading!