The Top 10 Banned Books of our Generation

The concept of banning books might seem like a thing of the past, but attempts to ban or censor new and historically-renowned books are still common in our generation, some for ridiculous reasons.

The list of banned books could go on for days, some more ridiculous than others. The important thing to remember is banned or not, these books are relevant to Millennials and have become “coming of age” passageways to people of all ages.

Banning books is a topic that continues to spark a wider controversy, especially in the “free country” we live in. It is not something that has slowed down in the last century and doesn’t seem to be showing any signs of stopping in the near future. This list includes a number of classics and they should be read regardless of why they were banned.

  • In April of 2011, the American Library Association released the top ten books Americans challenged in 2010. Surprisingly only one classic novel made the list, Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, which ranked number three for insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and for being too sexually explicit. In 1980 it was banned from classrooms for making promiscuous sex “look like fun,” and has been challenged numerous times over the years.
  • The top most frequently challenged book of 2010 was Parnell and Richardson’s And Tango Makes Three, a 2005 children’s book, and true story, about two male penguins who adopted a chick at New York’s Central Park Zoo. Dozens of attempts were made to remove the book from libraries and public shelves because the two penguins promoted “homosexuality,” and religious members found it “unsuited to a certain age group.”

  • Also on the list were many Gen Y books, including 2007’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. The award-winning novel had Missouri parents in an uproar over masturbation scenes, sex education, racism, and violence because it “did not reflect community values,” and that it was “insulting” to make their children read it.  It topped number two on the list.
  • Crank, the young-adult novel by Ellen Hopkins, was challenged numerous times in 2010 for “inappropriate content” because of the characters descent in meth use. Hopkins herself was dis-invited to multiple readings and prohibited for speaking to students in many districts.
  • The Hunger Games, a 2008 novel by Suzanne Collins was challenged in a New Hampshire Middle School last year because it gave one of the students nightmares and was called “filth” by one of the parents.
  • Dan Brown’s 2003 novel, The Da Vinci Code was banned in Lebanon after complaints it was offensive to Christianity, mainly because of its depiction of Christ marrying Mary Magdalene and fathering a child. If you can believe it, the Dictionary was banned in 2010 in a Californian elementary school for it’s definition of oral sex.
  • The well-known children’s book, Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was banned in 2010 by the Texas Board of Education because the author had the same name as a Marxist theorist.
  • Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic became one of the most banned books of our generation for it’s promotion of “disrespect, horror and violence.”
  • The Harry Potter series have been banned on numerous occasions all over the world for all kinds of reasons. In 2007 at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in Wakefield, MA., it was banned because themes of witchcraft and sorcery were inappropriate for a Catholic School. The list goes on for this series….
  • In 2010, The Twilight series was banned for being “too sexually explicit,” “unsuited to a younger age group,” and for having “offensive language.” It was one of the most complained about books, stated the American Library Association.

Keep your eyes open for “Banned Books Week” this fall, from September 24 to October 1, to raise awareness for banned books everywhere!

What do you think about this list? Is the banning of books still something we should be concerned about in our generation? Let us know in the comments.

Lexis Galloway Recent Suffolk University graduate and current Cambridge resident, I'm an aspiring journalist/novel writer and I can't live without coffee and my macbook. Oh, and I'm also TNGG's Current Events Editor and writer for TNGG Boston. @lexgalloway

View all posts by Lexis Galloway

One Response to “The Top 10 Banned Books of our Generation”

  1. Dan Kleinman of SafeLibraries

    The ALA is dishonest. For example, it plagiarizes admittedly sub-standard material to promote “Banned Books Week.” See http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/2010/12/how-ala-plagiarism-becomes-truth.html

    It falsifies the annual top 10 challenged book list by promoting material of political interest to the ALA, not the actual books that were actually most challenged, and I have a recording of a “banned” author admitting the ALA told her this, in her own words.

    In reality, no books have been banned in the USA for about half a century: http://tinyurl.com/Sowell

    Reply

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