“[I]t’s not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”
-- Judy Blume
"Don't join the book burners. Don't think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed."
-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, speech at Dartmouth College, June 14, 1953
"Every burned book enlightens the world."
-- Ralph Waldo Emerson
"If all printers were determined not to print anything till they were sure it would offend nobody, there would be very little printed."
-- Benjamin Franklin, 1730
"What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist."
-- Salman Rushdie
"Censorship reflects a society's lack of confidence in itself. It is the hallmark of an authoritarian regime..."
-- Justice Potter Stewart, dissenting Ginzberg v. United States, 383 U.S. 463 (1966)
"Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it."
-- Mark Twain
"All these people talk so eloquently about getting back to good old-fashioned values. Well, as an old poop I can remember back to when we had those old-fashioned values, and I say let's get back to the good old-fashioned First Amendment of the good old-fashioned Constitution of the United States -- and to hell with the censors! Give me knowledge or give me death!"
-- Kurt Vonnegut
"The books that the world calls immoral are the books that show the world its own shame."
-- Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891
Please note that the most frequently challenged authors may not appear in the list of most frequently challenged books. For example, if every one of Judy Blume’s books was challenged–but only once–not one of her books would make the top 10 list, but she herself would make the most challenged author list. Five of Judy Blume’s books are on the list of The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990 to 1999: Forever (7), Blubber (30), Deenie (42), Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret (60), and Tiger Eyes (89).
2012: Dav Pilkey, Sherman Alexie, Jay Asher, E.L. James, Ellen Hopkins, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Patricia Polacco, John Green, Luis Alberto Urrea, Alvin Schwartz, Dagberto Glib
2011: Lauren Myracle, Kim Dong Hwa, Chris Crutcher, Carolyn Mackler, Robert Greene, Sonya Sones, Dori Hillestead Butler, Sherman Alexie, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Harper Lee, Eric Jerome Dickey, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Dav Pilkey, Cecily von Ziegesar
2010: Ellen Hopkins, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Sonya Sones, Judy Blume, Ann Brasheres, Suzanne Collins, Aldous Huxley, Sherman Alexie, Laurie Halse Anderson, Natasha Friend
2009: Lauren Myracle, Alex Sanchez, P.C. Cast, Robert Cormier, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Stephen Chbosky, Chris Crutcher, Ellen Hopkins, Richelle Mead, John Steinbeck
2008: Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Philip Pullman, Lauren Myracle, Jim Pipe, Alvin Schwartz, Chris Crutcher, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Rudolfo Anaya, Stephen Chbosky, Cecily Von Ziegesar
2007: Robert Cormier, Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, Mark Twain, Toni Morrison, Philip Pullman, Kevin Henkes, Lois Lowry, Chris Crutcher, Lauren Myracle, Joann Sfar
2006: Chris Crutcher, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, Toni Morrison, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Cecily von Ziegesar, Carolyn Mackler, Alvin Schwartz, Stephen Chbosky, Alex Sanchez, Judy Blume
2005: Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, Chris Crutcher, Robie Harris, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Toni Morrison, J. D. Salinger, Lois Lowry, Marilyn Reynolds, and Sonya Sones.
2004: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Robert Cormier, Judy Blume, Toni Morrison, Chris Lynch, Barbara Park, Gary Paulsen, Dav Pilkey, Maurice Sendak, and Sonya Sones.
2003: Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, J. K. Rowling, Robert Cormier, Judy Blume, Katherine Paterson, John Steinbeck, Walter Dean Myers, Robie Harris, Stephen King, and Louise Rennison.
2002: J.K. Rowling, Judy Blume, Robert Cormier, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Stephen King, Lois Duncan, S.E. Hinton, Alvin Schwartz, Maya Angelou, Roald Dahl, and Toni Morrison.
2001: J. K. Rowling, Robert Cormier, John Steinbeck, Judy Blume, Maya Angelou, Robie Harris, Gary Paulsen, Walter Dean Myers, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Bette Greene.
Banned Books Week occurs during Hispanic Heritage Month. Below is a starter list of books by Hispanic authors that have either been banned or challenged:
|Bless Me, Ultima
Besides winning the Premio Quinto Sol national Chicano literary award, this novel of a young boy in New Mexico in the 1940s has sold more than 300,000 copies in paperback since its 1973 debut.
High school students in Norwood, Colorado, staged an all-day sit-in to protest the removal of the novel from a ninth grade English classroom. The book had been removed following parent complaints of profanity and “pagan content” (the book’s title character is an herbal healer). Bob Conder, superintendent of schools, confiscated two dozen copies of the novel and threw them in trash cans, then allowed a group of parents to retrieve the books and destroy them. Conder later apologized, admitting he had never read the novel, which appears on First Lady Laura Bush’s “top ten” reading list for all ages.
|How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Fifteen tales vividly chronicle a Dominican family's exile in the Bronx, focusing on the four Garcia daughters' rebellion against their immigrant elders.
One of 55 books that parents in Fayetteville, Arkansas are petitioning to have removed from school libraries. The parents, who formed Parents Protecting the Minds of Children, object to the profane language and depictions of sexuality in many of the books and have accused the librarians and other opponents of their efforts of promoting a "homosexual agenda". PPMC objects to these novels because of its discussions of sex and teen pregnancy.
|The House of the Spirits
This novel is continually challenged on the basis of being “immoral” and “sexually depraved.” The book follows 4 generations of women in the Trueba family, and their hopes, spiritual yearnings and connections with each other. Isabel Allende won the Hans Christian Andersen Literature Prize for her “magical and spellbinding story telling.” Previous winners have been Paulo Coehlo and J.K. Rowling.
The twenty-two stories are about all kinds of relationships, including straight and gay sexual relationships as well as familial love. Taking place in mostly urban settings, the stories are dominated by strong Latina characters. Racial and cultural issues are explored as well as the sexual and personal dynamics of each situation.
Ana Castillo is a Chicana poet, essayist, editor, and novelist who explores the tribulations of womanhood and offers pungent socio-political comment. Castillo's work is based on established oral and literary traditions, yet at the same time it is highly innovative.
|The House on Mango Street
This coming of age story of a poor Latino girl has been banned and challenged since its publication. The novella’s protagonist, Esperanza Cordero, a teenager growing up amidst the harsh beauty and poverty in the Latino section of Chicago, recounts her difficult time growing up and assimilating. Its themes of poverty, sexuality, and racism have stirred up challenges in several states.
|Like Water for Chocolate - by Laura Esquievel
Esquivel uses magical realism to combine the ordinary and the supernatural, similar to Isabel Allende. The novel, taking place during the revolution in early twentieth century Mexico, shows the importance of the kitchen in Esquivel's life. The book is divided into twelve sections, named after the months of the year, each section beginning with a Mexican recipe. The chapters outline the preparation of the dish and ties it to an event in the protagonist's life.