The Ten Most Challenged Books

BannedBooksI read a couple of articles today regarding books that are being banned from school library shelves. They prompted me to do a search to find out which books top the list as the ones that are most challenged by parents. Here is the list that I found.

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  4. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  5. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  8. Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  9. Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I am happy to say that I have read all of these except To Kill a Mockingbird and The Bluest Eyes. I know, you can’t believe that I have not read To Kill a Mockingbird yet, but I will soon. At least I saw the film and the play.

Many of these books my children have read. In fact, the reason I read Bridge to Terabithia was because one of my kids read it and wanted me to read it also. I have to say, I think about that book a lot. Recently I was alongside a stream and the thought of crossing the stream brought back memories of the book.

As a parent, I understand the concern that other parents have about what their kids are exposed to, but I am a stanch opponent to censorship in any form. If there is something that I don’t want my child to read, I will tell my child that I don’t think the book is appropriate yet and why, but I will not presume that I have the right to make that book unavailable to other students who may be at a level where the book is appropriate.

Censorship is a very slippery slope and the support of censorship is usually a direct result of fear. So what would I do if my middle-schooler wanted read Fifty Shades of Gray? I would say that the book sucks and is not really appropriate, and that there are much better books out there. Then I would suggest some alternatives. But if my child was determined to read it, I would give permission and make myself available to talk about the book. I’d rather my kids discuss these things with me than with someone else.


Filed under Literature

6 responses to “The Ten Most Challenged Books

  1. I’m sad to say I’ve read none of the books on this list except for Harry Potter but I can assert that they’re all on my TBR list. You do make a good point about censorship though. You sound like a great parent, if I may say so!

    • Stuff Jeff Reads

      Aww, thanks! And thanks for the response. I look forward to reading your posts when you get around to reading these. Cheers!

  2. julie Klein

    When I taught 9th grade, we always read to kill a mockingbird at the beginning of the year and ended on slaughterhouse five.You must read Mockingbird, Jeff, it is a brilliant and beautiful book, full of subtlety and a fine set of heroic figures (adult and child) that are not one-dimensional.

    • Stuff Jeff Reads

      Hey Julie. Mockingbird is on my short list of must-read books. I’d be interested in talking to you about it when I do. Thanks for your comment. Cheers!!

  3. rohbear9

    Speaking of Steinbeck, we watched Grapes of Wrath last night, and it sent me to Wiki to learn about the movie, the film, Steinbeck and blacklisting. What prompted the search was the implicit endorsement of socialist ideas in the movie, and the realization that both the book and movie came out before blacklisting became hysterical. Are you going to review Grapes of Wrath someday?

    • Stuff Jeff Reads

      Hey Rohbear! Thanks for the comment. I should read Grapes of Wrath. I’ve read other Steinbeck novels, including East of Eden (which I loved), so I should definitely add this to my list. It’s good to read those subversive books. 😉 Cheers!