Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop, hosted by Bookhounds.

While this hop is a couple of weeks early (Banned Books Week officially begins Sept. 24) its theme is evergreen.

I firmly believe in everyone’s right to read whatever they want. As Ben Franklin said in the movie 1776, “there’s nothing so dangerous that it can’t be talked about”. Or, to carry the metaphor a bit further, can’t be read about.

This does also mean that people have the right not to read about whatever they don’t want to. But their rights end at my nose. Just because someone does not want to read a particular type of literature or a particular book, that does not mean that other people don’t have an equal right TO read that literature. Banning a book removes it from everyone, not just those who don’t want to read it.

To give a very hypothetical hypothetical, I do not like inspirational literature, and I don’t read it. However, my desire not to read that one particular type of literature does not and should not affect anyone else’s right to adore it.

However, most current examples of book challenges involve books for children, whether in school or at the public library. “What about the children?” is one its most successful rallying cries. And parents do have a right to control what their own children read. But the emphasis on that sentence is the bit about “their own children”. Just as parents who think completely differently from them, or in some cases parents of children who see themselves or their families represented in the books that other parents want to ban, actively desire that their children read books that reflect their experience, or what they believe is the world at large.

Sometimes Heather really does have two mommies. Sometimes two boys really do kiss. But as this list of the Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 shows, not everyone wants to see the world as it really is, and wants to keep their heads in the sand as long as inhumanly possible.

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    Reason: challenged for offensive language

There are many more resources about banned and challenged books at the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week site.

So celebrate your freedom to read by picking up a banned or challenged book. Or settle in for a Harry Potter re-read. The Harry Potter series has the number one spot on the banned and challenged list for the entire 2000-2009 decade!

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113 thoughts on “Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

  1. Honestly I’m never surprised anymore when it comes to books being banned. My elementary school removed all the Harry Potter books because so many religious parents wanted them out.

  2. Honestly, I’m not surprised by anything. People are so quick to judge and look to “protect” children from what they see as different or controversial.

  3. I was surprised that Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell was on the list, I thought it was a pretty light hearted book.

  4. Seriously, I’m not all that surprised about any of the books. If you look at past banned books, people have always had an amazing capacity to be offended/alarmed by just about anything.

    (BTW, I just finished listening to the Harry Potter audiobooks, so I guess I unknowingly did my bit to protest.)

  5. I guess Harry Potter really surprised me, but so many of them I do not understand why they are on the lists!!

  6. I just don’t get this kind of censorship. Yes, my mom told me I couldn’t read certain books–UNTIL I was older. When I went back and read them I understood why, that I was too young to understand the book/situation. But never censor!

  7. “What book are you most surprised to see on the Banned and Challenged Books lists?” I dunno. I’m not too familiar with any of the books. I read yesterday about how people tried to make trouble about a picture book that used punctuation symbols in place of the “s-h” word. Ridiculous.

  8. I was kind of surprised about Winnie The Pooh. A lot of people keep mentioning Harry Potter to me but I remember when all the fuss was going on about the series and I actually have a friend that had her books burned by a stepparent when they realized that she owned them.

  9. From the books listed on this post, “Harry Potter”– absolutely! That’s just… Hm. I’m playing Devil’s Advocate with this in my mind, and it’s sort of interesting to think about. Good food for thought. 🙂

  10. I’ve known about Harry Potter for quite a while but it still baffles me that a series that’s loved by so many people is considered banned. Other than that I was surprised to find “George” on the list… if we live in a world where people can’t be represented in books for all ages then how will we ever accept each other fully?

  11. I’m surprised by both Harry Potter and Eleanor & Park. People are so touchy about everything these days. Still it’s good to discuss these issues to try to reach consensus or at least understand where the other point of view is coming from.

  12. Eleanor and Park, Vampire Academy series and The Hunger Games. Maybe not surprising, because after things like the latest Presidential election I’m quite cured of that, but they really do hammer the point home. Nothing’s safe: if it makes you think even a little bit, it’s dangerous.

  13. Little Bill shocks me. If we are going to start banning books based off their authors there are going to be a lot more banned books out there.

  14. I agree with most comments about Eleanor and Park! I’m not surprised about HP since I remember a scene where a priest told a group of children that it was evil (talk about prejudices)!

  15. I was surprised to see the Goosebumps series by R.L. Stine on the “frequently challenged” list! Those books were such a huge part of my childhood…I can’t imagine not having read them.

    (Thanks for the chance to win!)

  16. It’s sad to see so many books banned because of GLBT themes. Glad to see Bill Cosby’s book on there, though. He shouldn’t be profiting at all, knowing what he’s responsible for.

  17. I had no idea that Harry Potter was on the list! I love Harry Potter books/movies/theme park rides/etc. and we are religious people! I just don’t think a bit of magic in a book is harmful!

  18. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell. I love her writing. Being an adult, I’m able to handle offensive words. If you don’t want to read anything offensive, the don’t.

  19. I was surprised to see In Cold Blood by Truman Capote on the list of banned books because it’s a non-fiction book.

  20. Harry Potter, specifically the first one, is really surprising. Most of the reasons seem to be from people who know nothing about them.

  21. I found it strange that Little Bill was on there. Its not like children have even heard of the controversy about Bill Cosby and I knew we used to just love the Little Bill books when my daughter was younger.

  22. Brave New World being on the banned list as it was a required book in a college level class I had 🙂 I thought it was a good book, lol

  23. I’m surprised to see Little Bill (series) on the list. My girls used to watch that show when they were little.

  24. Looking for Alaska by John Green. I don’t see how some people can be so prude in order to ban a book like this

  25. I have read several banned books, including 1984, The Giver, Lord of the Flies , and the Hunger Games series. My favorite challenged book is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

  26. I am surprised to see Little Bill on the list really. Of course what Crosby did was in appropriate but it has nothing to do with the book.

  27. There were a couple–Little Bill (largely because they were superimposing the alleged actions of the author onto the series, not because of anything in the books themselves) and Harry Potter.

  28. On the 2016 list I would say the little bill series. i mean seriously folks if we banned books based on the authors life and the what they did it didn’t do, I really don’t think there would be a book left on the shelf.

  29. I’ve heard of the complaints about Harry potter before, but I was really surprised to see A Wrinkle in Time on the list.

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