02 Sep 5 Banned or Challenged Book Recommendations
Banned Books Week is an annual event in September where libraries celebrate the freedom to read. Libraries highlight books that have been challenged or outright banned from libraries in the past in order to encourage reading them. This year’s Banned Books week is September 27 – October 3, 2020. Allyson Mower, Head of Scholarly Communication & Copyright, has recommended the following titles to help you get started.
Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Often challenged because of objections to profanity and religious content. The story is so engrossing and compelling. Anaya’s pioneering authorship introduced readers to engaging aspects of contemporary Chicanx culture. The owl, the moon, the river, and the people of New Mexico make for rich connections, deep complexities, and very enjoyable reading.
The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Banned by fascist leaders Mussolini and Alexander I because of the author’s vocal support of socialism whose opinions became well-known because of the popularity of his book. The story follows Buck, a solitary, domesticated dog stolen from his Southern California home to become a sled dog in Yukon, Canada and eventually leaves behind his solitary & domesticated ways to become part of the pack.
Fun Home by Alison Bechdel
This compelling graphic novel memoir, which has since been adapted into a Broadway show, appeared as one of the most challenged book in 2015 primarily because of its telling of homosexuality and references to nudity. The author calls it a “family tragicomic” which basically sums it up! Don’t let the challenges scare you away; it’s a wonderful coming-of-age story.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Challenged most recently in Asheboro, North Carolina, Ellison’s “psychological thriller” (as I like to call it) about what it’s like to be a Black man in America can be difficult reading for certain ages and often gets challenged by parents of high school-age children for not only the violence associated with racism and bigotry the protagonist faces but also for profanity and sexuality. It’s a classic and needs to be on everyone’s reading list.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
A feisty, opinionated teenager’s world gets severely constrained to a small, shared space and she records her experiences and memories of freedom, including youthful sexual escapades. This latter portion often lands this book on challenged lists, sadly. I can’t image not being allowed to read this book and even made my teenage niece read it!