It’s Banned Books Week! In honor of the fight for our right to read, I wanted to share some of my favorite books that are commonly banned. While making this list and reading through what books are banned, it was so hard to choose a top 5 because there are many, many amazing books on these lists. But here are my top 5, and some honorable mentions too.
Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling (Reasons: occult/Satanism)
I remember the very adamant feelings people had about Harry Potter being about Satanism when I was reading it when the series was finishing up. When you actually read the books you see how bizarre that notion is. I grew up with Harry and friends, and still very much love the series to this day.
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (Reason: language and sexual references)
The Great Gatsby is still often taught in schools but often challenged. Although I did read it in school, I found my greatest appreciation of it in college and reading it for fun rather than for education (I was terrible at reading books for school). This novel is such a beautiful, albeit dark, representation of the American Dream.
The Giver by Lois Lowry (Reasons: unsuited for age group)
I first read The Giver in middle school and read it again in college. It probably started my love for dystopian fiction, as it has many of the same characteristics as many other novels in the genre.
Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Reason: challenged for offensive language)
This is the only book I have read in a single sitting. It’s the beautiful story of teenage love between the outcasts, but with an unexpected ending. The main challenge of this book may be the language (which I always find ridiculous reasoning), but there was an incident where a radio host incited a mass challenge of the book, except his excerpt in question was actually fan fiction (lol). I remember that a mass of people who love this book (myself included) when to the Facebook page of the host and the post citing the fan fiction and set the issue straight. So not only is this one of my favorite challenged books, but I have actually fought against it’s banning.
Looking for Alaska by John Green (Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group)
Looking for Alaska is my favorite book ever. It’s certainly not the light love story of TFIOS, but it is still a beautiful and meaningful story and touches on issues that many non-banned books don’t.
Honorable Mentions: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley, The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton, Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
What are your favorite books that have been challenged? Let me know in the comments below!