Monday, September 23, 2013

Banned Books Week 2013: Challenged vs. Banned Books

Save this lonely, banned book by reading it! 
Banned Book Week Image by Charlie Corrigan
A ban-tastic (sorry, couldn't resist) morning to you, and welcome to the 2013 Banned Books Week, which is taking place between September 22 and 28. 

My mom wasn't too strict about books, as long as she didn't see any words like SEX or pictures of half-naked people on the cover she was fine. With the help of book covers it was easy to sneak certain books in the house.
She was trying to protect me from bad influences, but I don't regret reading those forbidden books. I suppose banning influential books would be more crucial for parents who want their kids to grow up with a specific mind-set, such as a religious one. 

To be honest, I've been aware of famously banned books like 1984, but I didn't know there was a Banned Books Week until earlier this year. ;) Even trashy novels can act as gateways to literacy, but some parents challenge books because they want to protect their kids from the uglier sides of the world as well as bad influences. 

Some terms I've been seeing have been "challenged books" and "banned books," so I did some research to find out the difference.

Challenged Books

When someone challenges a particular book, they're trying to get it banned by sending out a request to a library or school to pull the book from their shelves. Even if the challenge fails to go through, it still means that someone tried to keep others from reading that book. 

Some people might choose to not read books that have been frequently challenged in order to avoid offending people or getting in trouble, and this ends up being a form of voluntary censorship as a result of the book's challenged status. 

The reasons for challenging a book include sexual content, profanity, homosexuality, religious viewpoints, political viewpoints, and violence. But anyone can challenge a book for any reason.

Banned Books

Banned books are those that have been successfully prohibited from touching the shelves of a particular library, or student's reading list at schools. Some examples of banned books of 2012 were Captain Underpants (Gross and funny, but I know many friends who learned to read through this series) and Fifty Shades of Grey


My Banned Books Week Reading List: 


  1. Great post! I knew about E&P but didn't realize Persepolis had faced this. Makes me want to read it even more now! (It's been on my TBR list for a while)

    1. Thanks! I heard about E&P before I heard about Persepolis too. Seeing the TBR books on the banned list made me want to read them more. :)

  2. I've only watched the Persepolis movie, probably too culturally controversial for the library.

    1. It was considered "inappropriate for this age group." o_O Whatever that really means.

  3. Had never heard of Persepolis. I think it is great that kids fought the system to read something they felt strongly about.


    1. Agreed. This activism and publicity will bring in support from the outside too.