Banned Books Week 2020

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As a librarian I am fortunate that, aside from 90 days right when I was graduating from Library School. I haven’t worked in a public library since. Public libraries and school libraries are the battle grounds for book banning. You can read my older posts on banned books to see what I did deal with in those 90 days. Let’s say it was enough to make me not want to work in a public library again!

The American Library Association, which is the group that represents public librarians in the United States. They do a tremendous about of good in providing all types of continuing education for librarians and library staff, developing programming, and supporting libraries on Capital Hill. They engage the best speakers for the annual conferences and have the biggest freebie haul of any library conference! They also track challenges to books (attempts to ban) across the nation and compile the lists of titles and the statistics that go with them.

The Top Ten Titles

Top 10 of 2019_1

As you can see, most relate to diverse sexuality. Here’s my thought on those: If you do not want you child reading it, then go to the library with them and advise them yourself on their selection. Another parent it the same PUBLIC library, whose taxes contributed as much as yours to the library budget, maybe grateful for such a book. Consider this: A young person tries out all types of persona as they go through adolescence. Maybe reading a book can help them clarify their thoughts and get on with life. Why object to that?

In school I do think we have gone too far into “relevance.” “Relevance for whom?” Also we’ve gone overboard with “at least they are reading.” I have no objection to any of the books here being in a school library. I do think there are other less controversial books that would be better for class assignment. That said, when I pulled both of my kids out of the study of one book each, I did not object to the class reading it, and it both cases it triggered their painful memories of their early past before we became a family. I had a valid reason that was affecting them, I spoke to the classroom teacher, then to the principal and the whole thing was arranged in 5 minutes. Both times my kids went next door for literature and read the book the other class was reading. End of it.


Most years I try to read a banned or challenged book. I choose from the ALA’s lists. Here is the list for the past decade 2010–2019  Consider this–the Bible is number 52 on the list of most challenged books. Here are links to a few of my reviews of banned/challenged books on this list. I did not read one this year, so these are older reviews.


Reflections on the Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

10 of My Family’s Favorite Banned/Challenged Books That Aren’t The Bible or Harry Potter

Some of My Reviews of Banned or Challenged Books


Looking for Alaska by John Green (scroll down the page to the review)

Year at a Glance

Censorship by the Numbers 2019_0

Do you have a favorite banned or challenged book? Did you/are you doing any Banned Book posts this week? Leave me a comment or a link to your post.


It’s Banned Books Week

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This week is Banned Books Week in which the American Library Association brings attention to the issue of banned or challenged books in American school or public libraries. In every library, there is (or is supposed to be) a process for objecting to books and asking for a review of the book (or media these days). School libraries and public library children’s or young adults’ collections experience most of the challenges. Many, but by no means all, are from conservative religious groups or individuals holding such views.

A separate issue is the objection to books or media in the school curriculum. Books may be challenged on that basis, but without a request that the book be banned from the school library.  In most schools, it is a simple matter to request that your child be assigned a different book and sent elsewhere in the building during class time when the objectionable item is being used.

I did this with my kids when each had a book I could not approve assigned in elementary school. Neither was for religious reasons–both had to do with a situation similar to their former lives. “Triggered” was not yet an over-used buzz word back then, but that was the reason. I had immediate agreement from all involved and my kids did the same sort of project with a different book being read in a different classroom. After elementary school, I saw no reason to intervene.


Of these, Captain Underpants, to me, is merely tasteless, but then I’m not an 8 year old little boy. My son loved the first two books, but found the rest of them “stupid.” (He grew up!) I took Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo to be a picture book for grown-ups, so never found any reason for outrage. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a classic among banned and challenged book. It is still on my TBR–I generally try to read one banned/challenged book each year so maybe for 2020 I’ll finally get to it.

Links to my reviews of some of 2018’s most frequently banned/challenged books, found here.

Please click on the book’s title to go to my review.

The Librarian of Auchwitz

Looking for Alaska (scroll down for the review)


Perks of Being a Wallflower

Here are some of my past Banned Book Weed posts

High School Banned Book Memory (2015)

Banned Books Week 2016

Three More Banned…Books I’ve Enjoyed (2016)

Banned Books Week 2017

A Few Banned Books I’ve Reviewed (2017)

Banned and Challenged Books Week: A Surprise Favorite (2017)

Ten of My Family’s Favorite Banned…aren’t Harry Potter or the Bible (2017)


Banned Books Week: A Few Banned Books I’ve Reviewed

Book challenges (3)

Every year I try to bring awareness to Banned and Challenged Books during Banned Books Week. Here are a few of the books I’ve featured in past years–the linked text takes you to my own review. Within my review there will be a link to the Amazon listing for the book. I do not make any money off your clicks to Amazon. The links are just a convenience for you.


My Reviews or Reminiscences


The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is in the same review with The Imortal Life of Henreitta Lacks and  A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway

Sounder by William H. Armstrong

Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’engle

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

The Awakening by Kate Chopin

Looking for Alaska by John Green

The Toritilla Curtian by T.C. Boyle is in the same review with The Jungle by Upton Sinclair and Nickled and Dimed by Barbara Erhenreich



WHERE are books challenged (1)


Banned Book Week: Ten of My Family’s Favorite Banned or Challenged Books That Aren’t Harry Potter or the Bible

Stand For the Banned 357


No, I didn’t choose the Bible or Harry Potter. Nor TKAM. Nor GWTW. I tried to pick ones we enjoyed that aren’t Banned Book cliches. Did you know Where’s Waldo makes the list? It isn’t always the books you expect, is it? Well, here are our ten for today. These are by no means ALL of the banned or challenged books we’ve loved and enjoyed over the years. Just a nice selection of books you may not have known about.


Our Choices

(These are not in any ranked order.)

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane [I know of one library in Idaho where this book was kept locked up].

Friday Night Lights by H.G. Bissinger

Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatly Snider [a favorite of my daughter]

Junie B Jones series [another favorite of my daughter]

The Freedom Writer’s Diary (both my son and daughter)

The Outsiders (my son)

A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer


The Lists I Used-all official American Library Association lists

Banned and Challenged Classics

Top Ten Banned and Challenged Books Lists [all]

Frequently Challenged Children’s Books