Banned Books Week

September 30 – October 6, 2012

Banned Books Week is an annual event acknowledging the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship. Books that have been banned or attempted to be banned, across the United States and the world, are highlighted. Banned Books Week is not only an opportunity to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, but also to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

What does it mean to ban or challenge a book

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.


  • Hundreds of books have been either removed or challenged in schools and libraries in the United States every year.
  • According to the American Library Association (ALA), there were at least 326 in 2011.
  • American Library Association estimates that 70 to 80 percent are never reported.

Reasons for banning/challenging books

Top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. The material was considered to be "sexually explicit“
  2. The material contained "offensive language“
  3. The material was "unsuited to any age group"

For information on Banned Books:

Lists of banned and challenged books:

Banned Books Virtual Read-Out

The Banned Books Virtual Read-Out features videos of readers exercising their First Amendment right to read a banned book.

Out of 326 books – as reported by the American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom)

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle 
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism
  1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  5. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  6. Ulysses by James Joyce
  7. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  8. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  9. 1984 by George Orwell
  10. Lolita by Vladmir Nabokov