Banned books around the United States: What are we afraid of?

It’s the 30th year the American Library Association has celebrated the right to read with its Banned Book Week. The week draws attention to cases of censorship at schools and libraries around the country.

Every year, parents protest hundreds of books in school curriculums or libraries, and while many schools reject the challenges against books, others do chose to ban books or remove them from classrooms. Thirty years ago, the books that were banned encouraged “pro-communist behavior” (“1984” by George Orwell), inflicted “psychological damage to the positive integration process” (“To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee) “used God’s name in vain” (“Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck) and implied “man is little more than an animal” (“Lord of the Flies” by William Golding).

Today, the challenges focus on sex, drugs and more drugs. Here are some of the books banned in 2010-2011, according to the American Library Association:


Accusation: Steamy sex scenes. (Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time

Accusation: Foul language.

What’s Happening to My Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-up Guide for Parents & Sons

Accusation: Definitions of rape, incest, sexual assault and intercourse.

Tweaked: A Crystal Meth Memoir

Accusation: contains instructions on how to make certain types of illegal drugs.

The Heroin Diaries: A Year in the Life of a Shattered Rock Star

Accusation: Descriptions of drug use

Revolutionary Voices: A Multicultural Queer Youth Anthology

Accusation: Too graphic and obscene

Water for Elephants

Accusation: Steamy sex scenes.

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