September 28, 2010


Everyday this week I am posting about Banned Books. Today I want to share with you an article I found online written by Steven Barry.


Banned Books Week, an annual event co-sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), celebrates the First Amendment and the freedom to read (this year from Sept. 25 to Oct. 2). Here are some uncensored numbers on the subject.

1982: The year the ALA celebrated the first Banned Books Week.

1990: The first year the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom began gathering statistics about banned books.

4,312: The number of challenges received by American libraries between 2001 and 2009. According to the American Library Association's definition, a challenge is a formal and written complaint requesting that a book be removed from shelves because of objectionable content.

The ALA categorizes these 4,312 challenges as follows: 1,413 for "sexually explicit" material, 1,125 due to "offensive language," 897 challenges due to material deemed "unsuited to age group," 514 challenges due to "violence," 344 challenges due to "homosexuality," 109 materials were challenged because they were "anti-family," and 269 because of their "religious viewpoints.

1,502: The number of challenges tabulated between 2001 and 2009 that occurred in classroom settings.

451: The temperature in degrees Fahrenheit that book paper catches fire and burns. Ray Bradbury used that scientific factoid to write "Fahrenheit 451," a novel about a futuristic society in which reading is discouraged. In today's world, some people who challenge books often stage book burnings in public places.

69: "Fahrenheit 451's" ranking on the ALA's "Top 100 Challenged/Banned Books: 2000-2009"

1979: The year that Katherine Patterson's young adult novel "The Great Gilly Hopkins" received both the Newberry Honor Award and the National Book Award.

20: "The Great Gilly Hopkins" ranking on the ALA's "Top 100 most frequently challenged books: 1990-1999." Most of the challenges are due to the character of Gilly Hopkins, a foster child who frequently uses the words "damn" and "hell".

65 million: Estimated number of books sold by prolific author Judy Blume. In 2005, Dr. Rick Schneider banned Blume's ground-breaking young-adult novel "Forever" from the shelves of the Pasadena Independent School District.

4: The number of voyages taken by the title character in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (Gulliver's final voyage took him to a world of talking horses who ruled over humans called Yahoos). Swift's book was banned in Ireland in 1726 for obscenity and wickedness.

Original Article Link

QUESTION OF THE DAY: If you had the power to take only one book off the Banned List everywhere for the rest of time, which book would you ultimately choose?


  1. Great post! If you don't mind we will be re-linking to this on Friday for a Banned Book link roundup!

    Also Harry Potter hands down. The fact that it was ever considered to be on any banned book list ever disgusts me. In fact it would be a mandatory read for all kids if I was president haha.

  2. Isn't is scary to think of all the great books we'd miss out on if banning of books worked. I don't know if I'd have made it successfully through my teen years with out Judy Blume!

  3. I agree with Padfoot & Prongs--Harry Potter hands down!

  4. Great post...I loved The Great Gilly Hopkins. You mean kids swear??? I would've never thought that!! LOL..these people need to get a clue.

    As for one book it would have to be Speak.

  5. Oh, the irony of a book about censorship trying to be censored. Thanks for that breakdown of some stats. Always interesting to contemplate.

  6. To Kill A Mockingbird is too important to be banned or challenged. I wrote my post about that very topic today. Thanks for sharing these figures!

  7. I think my choices would go along with Staci and Bumbles! To Kill a Mockingbird is def too important and I just finished Speak last week and think it should be mandatory reading for young adults. That book was an amazing way to introduce a serious situation to teens without making it feel preachy or after-school-specialish.

  8. I'll definitely choose the Harry Potter series. Whether they challenge it or not, it's still up for the readers what they'd want to read. It's a free country right?

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  9. Hands down Harry Potter!!!! Of course, there are a multitude of others, but that would be my first choice by far!


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