When thinking of banned and contested books, it’s easy to conjure up images of the repression that existed in America during the 1950s. Sure, we’ve all heard of the book burning parties, and we all know that Diary of Anne Frank and Of Mice and Men
were banned back in the day.

But the repression hasn’t ended.

The assault on knowledge and ideas and discussion and diversity marches on. In 21st Century America book burning parties continue, as do attempts at banning books in libraries.

Here is a partial list of the banned and contested books from just this past year.

    Alexie, Sherman. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Indian kid goes to an all white school.

    Anonymous. Go Ask Alice. Don’t do drugs.

    Bowden, Mark. Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. War is violent.

    Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner. All’s fair in love and war – one of my favorite books

    Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. I think everyone should read this book.

    Maguire, Gregory. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West. Tells the other side of the story of the Wizard of Oz.

    Meyer, Stephenie H. The Twilight Series. Vampires from a Mormon’s perspective.

    Picoult, Jodi. My Sister’s Keeper. Little sister doesn’t want to donate her kidney.

    Pullman, Philip. The Golden Compass. Religion can have a dark side.

    Richardson, Justin, and Peter Parnell. And Tango Makes Three. The world is not suffering from too much love.

    Salinger, J. D. The Catcher in the Rye. I am no fan of Holden, but I understand his frustration with hypocrisy.

    Seierstad, Åsne. The Bookseller of Kabul. This book was infuriating at times, but it made me think.

    Walker, Alice. The Color Purple. resilience.

The irony of book banning is that it’s one of the best ways to get someone to read a book they otherwise might not consider. Read a banned book this week. Check with your local library for more information.

What is your favorite banned book?

I think mine has to be The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It’s more relevant today than it was when it was written.

Judy Schwartz Haley


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