Steal This List

by Valerie MacEwan

25 September 2001

 
“Books won’t stay banned. They won’t burn. Ideas won’t go to jail. In the long run of history, the censor and the inquisitor have always lost. The only sure weapon against bad ideas is better ideas.”
—A. Whitney Griswold (1952)

American Library Association celebrates Banned Books Week for the twentieth year. Create a sensation, read a banned book.

You could start with: Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass. The District Attorney in Boston, MA. in 1881 threatened criminal prosecution unless the volume was expurgated. The book was withdrawn in Boston. Source: Geller, Evelyn. Forbidden books in American Public Libraries, 1876-1939: A study in cultural change. Westport, CT: Greenwood Pr., 1984.

But if you want to make a real splash, grab The Stupids series.

A Beginner’s Guide to the Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2001*

Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

Daddy’s Roommate by Michael Willhoite

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

Forever by Judy Blume

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

The Giver by Lois Lowry

It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine

A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Sex by Madonna

Earth’s Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

The Witches by Roald Dahl

The Goats by Brock Cole

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents; Daughters by Lynda Madaras

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

The Pigman by Paul Zindel

Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

Deenie by Judy Blume

Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole

Cujo by Stephen King

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Carrie by Stephen King

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Always Running by Luis Rodriguez

Private Parts by Howard Stern

Where’s Waldo? by Martin Hanford

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Robert

The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

And there are so many more . . .

*as compiled by the Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association.

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