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Children's & Young Adult Literature: Banned Books

Guide for library and Internet research resources about children's and young adult literature.

Banned & Challenged Books

"The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them."

Difference between a challenged & banned book" http://www.ala.org/bbooks/about

  • A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.
  • A banning is the 'actual' removal of those materials.

Annual List of ALA Banned & Challenged Books
The links to list of books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned each as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom are below. Some links  download a PDF of each list while others link to a web page.

OIF is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials.
 
Extensive information about banned children's & young adult books including links to ALA resources complied by Wayne State University Education Librarian. 
 

Common Reasons Given for Challenging or Banning Books

Each book that is banned or censored is done so for the content within the pages. There are a few common reasons that books have been banned or censored in schools, libraries, and book stores. These include:

Racial Issues: About and/or encouraging racism towards one or more group of people.

Encouragement of "Damaging" Lifestyles: Content of book encourages lifestyle choices that are not of the norm or could be considered dangerous or damaging. This could include drug use, co-habitation without marriage, or homosexuality.

Blasphemous Dialog: The author of the book uses words such as "God" or "Jesus" as profanity. This could also include any use of profanity or swear words within the text that any reader might find offensive.

Sexual Situations or Dialog: Many books with content that include sexual situations or dialog are banned or censored.

Violence or Negativity: Books with content that include violence are often banned or censored. Some books have also been deemed too negative or depressing and have been banned or censored as well.

Presence of Witchcraft: Books that include magic or witchcraft themes. A common example of these types of books are J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter Series.

Religious Affiliations (unpopular religions): Books have been banned or censored due to an unpopular religious views or opinions in the content of the book. This is most commonly related to satanic or witchcraft themes found in the book. Although, many books have also been banned or censored for any religious views in general that might not coincide with the public view. 

Political Bias: Most Commonly occurs when books support or examine extreme political parties/philosophies such as: fascism, communism, anarchism, etc.

Age Inappropriate: These books have been banned or censored due to their content and the age level at which they are aimed. In some cases children's books are viewed to have "inappropriate" themes for the age level at which they are written for. 

Source: "Common Reasons for Banning Books," Fort Lewis College, John F. Reed Library. Banned Books, Censorship & Free Speech. November 15, 2013. Web. March 19, 2014.

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