What are Challenged or Banned Books?
You might have heard about those books that have been banned by the libraries or by the local church, yet not many college students know about the reasons why some literary works are forbidden. If we turn to the American Library Association and their definition, the books that have been removed from the library shelves or schools due to violence, negativity, religious prejudice, racial remarks, or sexual explicit topics that are not suitable for a middle or high school curriculum. Still, what books are being banned? The books that contain offensive language or the calls to violence, adult topics with a graphic description of obscenity, or materials that are not suitable for most age groups.
Still, it does not mean that the books that we know well and have read as a part of our school curriculum have always been on the white list. You will encounter world-famous books like Lord of the Flies by William Golding or the classic To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Even though both titles contain certain materials that may not be suitable, they are mostly safe for most college students trying to learn. It makes it essential to check the banned books list as you explore each one and evaluate the rules and beliefs of the past decades compared to the current availability we have now.
Challenged Books Most Discussed and Censored in 2022
Turning to the Office for Intellectual Freedom or browsing through the American Library Association, you will encounter several titles that did not make it to the library shelves. The banned books list is updated all the time because there are new subjects that are evolving or unusual topics that are being addressed by the authors. Some of the challenged titles include:
- Gender Queer: a Memoir by Maia Kobabe.
It talks about gender identity and the importance of gender freedom. This writing is quite unusual not only because it is a memoir but because it speaks against the US and other countries' laws, banning of freedoms, and oppression that asexual and non-binary people sense.
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Another important entry tells about life on a reservation and feeling challenged because of being Indian. One of the “politically incorrect” books with controversial content.
- This Book is Gay by James Dawson. This book is for those who have always wanted to know more about belonging to the LGBT community. It is not forcing anyone to think differently but just tells a story and describes the lives of many people left on their own.
- Out of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez. It is a book that will make you cry because it talks about the school explosion in New London in 1937 and the segregation, attitude of people, and the hatred that hangs in the air. It's not entirely clear as to why this book has made it to the most banned books 2022, yet one can't go against the rules.
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This book is quite disturbing as it describes the racial issues and the violence of police officers. It is not an easy read, yet it has been banned because the words and phrases have been provided "as is". There are many similar book bans because of violence, yet this book has targeted those who have been through a lot.
The History of the Banned Books Concept
The list of banned books in America is not a new concept. It is considered the worst aspect of censorship in the United States with a major focus on children's literature. The practice of banning books has started in 1624 when a noble gentleman called Thomas Morton came to Massachusetts with the Puritan's beliefs. The new rules have been set, which also included the creation of a list of banned books in America. You might find it hard to believe, yet even Harry Potter is considered a banned book in some communities because of witchcraft, promotion of occult practices, and the risks of children becoming rebellious. The U.S. Supreme court has not made any lists of the banned books per se but reserved the right of schools and the libraries to ban certain books per their rules and beliefs.
While you might not relate it to challenged books, the questionable content is always approached differently by educators or religious leaders. There are also parents and psychologists who may find the concepts of war and domestic violence harmful for the children, yet this is always debatable and frequently overturned. Nevertheless, the practice still continues, which is odd if one considers the accessibility of e-books and the possibility to order almost every type of written content.
List of 5 Famous Books in the American History
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. This book would never be banned today because of the racial remarks and the excessive violence that is portrayed by the author. This book will bring tears to your eyes and turn your world upside down. Yet, if we compare it to the Kite Runner book by Khaled Hosseini, one might wonder why it’s not in the same list, too.
- Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Taking a look at the list of banned books 2022, you will still encounter the topic of violence and hatred. While most adults will see this book as almost harmless, the schoolchildren might have nightmares at best and a much stronger emotional impact than what’s usually acceptable. It is a book about the fight between good and evil, yet it includes murder and disturbing elements, which is probably the reason why it got on the banned books list.
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker. This book has been banned (and is still banned in some communities) because of the religious remarks, sexual topics being discussed and portrayed, and the over-the-top subjects that are simply illegal in every educated society. The book itself is not promoting anything obscene though and tells about drug abuse from the point of the victims.
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. It is the case of racial remarks, profanity, and offensive language used to tell stories taking place. It is regularly encountered in the most banned books in a history list.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The mixture of violence, sexual content, and adult topics has been considered unsuitable for young readers. Since the book has always made it to the school studies despite racist remarks, it became banned all the time.
Most Popular Banned Books in The USA
One of the most banned books in the US history is To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, which is closely followed by The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. You might find it hard to believe these days, yet these two books have been banned for decades and removed from schools and the libraries. The work by Harper Lee does touch upon adult topics and sexual violence, racial prejudice, and murder, yet these days it is freely studied by the middle school children in most American schools. As for the Great Gatsby, it has been turned into a movie, which has further fueled the popularity of this once-challenged book. As you will learn, many books have been banned because of prejudice while society has a right to know and explore. Without a doubt, the young ones should be protected, yet it’s always a debatable issue.