It’s Banned Books Week. Exactly as the name implies, during this week people all over the country highlight banned texts and the conversations around them. The week was launched in 1982 but has become more culturally relevant as of late due to the recent efforts by some to ban certain books in schools.
The US school system is not as interconnected as people typically believe. Certain areas that are allowed in some districts may be taboo in others. Meaning, it is likely that books that are banned in one school may not be banned in another school. Some of the titles that are banned may surprise you. See the list below.
Some of these books were banned historically. Some of them are still banned in places today. How many have you read? Add up your score at the end. (You don’t get credit for seeing film adaptations.)
“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain
This book is our first entry and probably the oldest as well. It was banned for language and racial stereotypes. You can also give yourself this point if you read “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.”
The Holy Bible by Various Authors
I lied. Obviously, this is older than Mark Twain. It is typically banned for violence or under the guise of religious neutrality.
“The Call of the Wild” by Jack London
There is a fair amount of violence and abuse of animals, but it was mostly banned because of the author’s political views.
“The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Banned for language and sexual references
“Animal Farm” by George Orwell
You often hear people refer to things as “Orwellian.” There is a reason for that. This one was banned for communist commentary.
“Fahrenheit 451” by Ray Bradbury
Not to get too meta, but this is actually a book about banning books. It’s banned for language, smoking, drinking, violence, and religious themes.
“The Diary of Anne Frank” by Anne Frank
Obviously, much of her diary was devoted to the Nazi occupation, but she was still a teenager going through puberty, and her writing reflects that.
“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee
The book dealt with issues like rape and racism. Some find the language and the topics themselves offensive.
“The Outsiders” by S.E. Hinton
The book is essentially about a gang, so there is plenty of violence, language, and other topics people find objectionable. (Recently, some people have theorized certain characters are gay though the author denies this.)
“The Bluest Eye” by Toni Morrison
Morrison has a few banned books. This one is here for themes on racism, incest, and sexual abuse.
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry
This book is the one I personally blame for all of the Young Adult (YA) dystopian novels we have today. Anyway, it’s on here for references to sex, euthanasia, and other controversial themes.
“The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins
There are a whole bunch of YA books that fall into this category. I’m not putting them all on here. This one is mainly banned for violence.
“Harry Potter” (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Obviously, this is on here for witchcraft which doesn’t land well in some communities. (You only get one point for this series don’t cheat.)
“The Hate U Give” by Angie Thomas
This book has violence, all the other themes people don’t like in YA novels, but it’s mainly on this list for perceived anti-police themes.
“Thirteen Reasons Why” by Jay Asher
The book has many themes people find objectionable, but the most pressing one is teenage suicide.
“I Am Jazz” by Jazz Jennings
The book is about the author, who is transgender, so obviously, it contains LGBTQ content.
“Twilight” by Stephine Meyer
Same reasons as Harry Potter plus sex. (Again, one point for the series)
“Fight Club” by Chuck Palahniuk
Sex, violence, and anarchist overtones.
“The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger
This book was banned due to language and sexually explicit content.
“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck
This book has been banned for “promoting euthanasia” and the use of racial slurs.
Add up your score.
1-5 = Get out of your bubble.
6-10 = You are starting to expand your horizons.
11-15 = You have a rebellious streak.
16-19 = Well on your way to becoming a dissident.
20 = You might be on a list.