Have you ever read a book that you loved but was shocked to find out that it was banned by many institutions? The banned books listed in this article might dumbfound you.
Books are banned when someone is affronted by a book’s content and deems it unsuitable for reading. But for a book to be banned, someone must challenge it first. If an authority deigns the challenge valid, then the book is removed from the particular institution, and it becomes a banned book. Possible reasons for a book to be banned are:
Sexual content, offensive language, inappropriate topics for certain age groups, content about racism, blasphemous dialogue, religious affiliations, political bias, violence, and more.
Did you know these books were banned?
Ironically, some books clouded by controversies tend to attract more ardent fans than their contemporaries. And to boot, many have been made into popular television shows and movies.
1. The Harry Potter series by J.K.Rowling
The Harry Potter series is an entertaining tale about a young wizard named Harry who overcomes real-life challenges in a fictional school for magic. The Harry Potter series has been banned on and off in various places around the world, citing religious reasons. Some believed that this series encouraged Satanic practices, witchcraft, and was, in fact, an actual book of real spells. This belief goes on to show how real and immersive Rowling’s writing feels.
2. Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Hunger games is a tale of the survival of a young adult protagonist, Katniss Everdeen, who is thrown into a brutal world. In 2011, it was banned because a parent in New Hampshire complained that the book contained unethical and anti-religious views. It is one of the most commonly banned books in American high schools today. Katniss is a strong and inspiring character who portrays how to survive in the face of injustice. Banning the book would mean the loss of a role-model for countless girls around the world.
3. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
This series is about how a young teenage girl is pushed to suicide because of her peers’ rampant bullying. After the first season of the Netflix series based on this book was aired, parents everywhere protested against its portrayal of teen suicide. On the other hand, some argued that the suicide scene’s intensity was essential to get across the teenagers’ pain and, thereby, the brutality of bullying. The book was banned in many American schools following the release of the Netflix series.
4. Beloved by Toni Morrison
Beloved is the tale of an African-American woman Sethe. Even after escaping from her life of slavery, she is still haunted by the traumatic brutalities she suffered, specifically within a spirit named Beloved. This book is a veracious historical account of the horrific after effects of the time of slavery and how it effects people psychologically. It was banned from some schools for portraying violence and racism.
5. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
This book is a coming-of-age story about the tumultuous high school period. This book was challenged repeatedly and has been banned in some schools. Parents claimed that the book was inappropriate because it contained homosexuality, drug use, and sexual content. Some argued that it not only talks about the difficult situations a teen faces, but it also teaches them to handle them better by preparing their minds beforehand. Despite being banned, the book has been made into a critically acclaimed movie.
6. The Diary of Anne Frank
This book is a first-hand account of a Jewish girl’s life-in-hiding within Nazi Germany. She and her family hid from the Nazis in an Amsterdam apartment until they were found and brought to the concentration camps. Anne didn’t make it, but her father, Otto Frank, advocated publishing her diary after the war was over. The book was challenged not because of the horrors the young girl faced, but at one point in the book, the 14-year-old recorded her observation of her maturing Anatomy. 41 percent of Millennials wrongly believe that two million Jews were killed in the Holocaust. The actual number is around six million. 66 percent of millennials, don’t know what Auschwitz was. Banning this book could lead to the erasure of history and the memories of a not only a young girl, but over six millions others.
7. I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
In this book, Angelou describes various real-life events from her childhood. This book was frequently banned because she talks about how she was raped during her childhood. Those who challeneged the book claimed that it promoted hatred towards white people. The Alabama State Textbook committee banned this book in 1983. Regardless of what people said or think, this book shed light on the acute experiences of young black people dealing with trauma, depression, self-healing, and much more in the south and all over the country.
Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”
Banned books go against the freedom of speech and thought. What one chooses to believe and entertain is an individual’s personal choice. Hence a progressive society will allow the expression of all opinions, ideas and perspectives. If we are to learn from the the past and not let history repeat itself, books must not be censored. How can anyone else decide what one should or shouldn’t like to read? And unconventional conversations about things that are swept under the carpet will help individuals and society to grow.