Learn about Banned Book Week, including BBW's mission, frequently challenged/banned books and why they are challenged and ways to get involved. Don't forget to take our poll!
Last Updated: Oct 2, 2014
"Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom
to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the
last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of
free and open access to information while drawing attention to the
harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of
books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom—the freedom to access information and express
ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox
or unpopular—provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW
stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or
unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them."
Their Eyes were Watching God
This tale of a young woman's journey of self-discovery has been challenged and banned for sexual explicitness.
The Grapes of Wrath
This classic, Pulitzer Prize winning story about a migrant farm family from Depression-era Oklahoma has been challenged for its use of "vulgar words"
Removed from high school reading lists for profane language, sexual explicitness and violence, Ellison won the National Book award for this novel about a young black man's adventures through contemporary America.
Catcher in the Rye
A favorite target of censors since its publication, J.D. Salinger's beloved coming of age story has been described as obscene, vulgar, "excessively violent" and "filthy."
Wright's story of a young black man caught in a downward spiral after he kills a white woman in 1930s Chicago has been challenged for its use of profanity, as well as graphic violence and sexual content.
Vonnegut's popular title has endured many challenges and was even burned in 1973 in a North Dakota community. Censors criticize the book for its sexual content, depictions of torture, foul language and portrayal of women.
Is the censorship of books and other library materials ever acceptable in your opinion?