Banned books, book burnings, censorship. These words get a pretty negative reaction out of most of us. Books are very powerful and an imperative part of our culture and education. Having access to a variety of books to read growing up shaped a lot of who I am.
Let’s get one thing clear here. I was raised by conservative, Christian parents. I myself am a very conservative Christian. But I am also firmly against book banning and censorship. Our world is made up of people of all shapes, colors, and beliefs, I want to be able to learn about them.
Does this mean I want to read books on any topic? No, there are some topics I am extremely disinterested in, and I don’t approve of all content for all audiences. That said, banning a book I don’t agree with isn’t something I have ever considered to be okay.
What kinds of books are on the Top 100 list?
The books on this list are about as varied as they come, ranging from classics, children’s books, YA dramas, and everything in between. Harry Potter is right at the top, along with books like To Kill A Mocking Bird and Junie B. Jones. These books don’t seem to have much in common, do they?
Let’s start with Harry Potter, a series beloved by millions of people across the world. Harry Potter and J.K.Rowling were actually my inspiration to become a writer when I was still a tiny kid. I have a hard time understanding why anyone wouldn’t love it, much less why they would want to ban it entirely!
But, nevertheless, here we are. Harry Potter is at the top of the most challenged books list for “Promoting occultism” and “glorifying magic” [See more here] Parents are afraid of the effect this series will have on their children. I often wonder if they have actually read the books. Of course, I am a bit biased since the Harry Potter series has been one of the top three most influential things in my life, and I would say for the better.
To Kill A Mocking Bird. Well, if you’re familiar with the story, you can probably guess what makes this book so controversial. Themes of racism and prejudice are hot topics, added on top of the accusations against Tom Robinson make people uncomfortable. But the message of the book is still important, and it’s important to sometimes have uncomfortable conversations.
These are just two examples of the types of books on the Top Most Banned and Challenged Books lists, both are books I very much enjoy. Now, looking at the list, I know for a fact there are some books I would not enjoy reading on there. But that doesn’t mean I would call for an outright ban. Tune in to the podcast for more on this topic, and please send us feedback!
This summer we will be taking a closer look at these in the Weekly Fiction Forum. Our selection will include:
- To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
- Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
- I know why the caged bird sings by Maya Angelou
For my top 100 most banned books list that I’m taking titles from, I used http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/top-100-bannedchallenged-books-2000-2009
This list is by decade, so it’s almost a decade old now, so there will be some recent books not listed. Not to worry, I’ll be doing Banned Books themes again in my podcast, it’s a very fun topic.
Let me know your thoughts, suggestions, and any questions you have about this.