The Banned Book List

It is surprising that of the 50 most banned books most are classics or contemporary books which have made the New York Times list.


Have you read a banned book? Amazingly some

of the classics of literature are on the banned book list. Many public and school libraries rely on this list to restrict their book offerings. Some of these books have been made into movies, and most are available at book stores. Others remain in the public domain and may be read on line. But what kind of books warrant being banned?

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain are two classics on the banned list. These are the two most famous books by Mark Twain and were read and loved by boys and girls since the 19th century.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle made the list. This popular children's book is an imaginative time-travel.

The quality of the books on the banned list is so great it almost can be used as required reading. Maya Angelou's, I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS is listed. She was the poet chosen to recite an original poem at the Inauguration of President Clinton. The book is about Maya's life growing in the south during the Civil Rights struggle.

The list also includes THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker which was made into an Academy Award winning movie with Oprah Winfrey and Whoopie Goldberg. It deals with life of black people in a small farming community in the south during the early part of the century.

CUJO and CHRISTINE are horror stories written by Stephen King. Both were made into movies. CUJO is about a killer dog and CHRISTINE is about a killer car. I don't know whether Stephen King thought it a horror or not but his books are among the top fifty banned.

Two of the strangest books on the condemned list are children's classics. One is LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD. The other is BLACK BEAUTY. They are available at most book stores and are still read and enjoyed by millions of children.

Dean Koontz also made the list with NIGHT CHILLS, one of his many books that made the New York Times best seller list.

JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH by Roald Dahl is condemned. The cartoon movie was true to the book and is a definite child's tale.

Most recent additions boggle the mind. One is a book on COMPUTER HYPERLINKS.

Certainly many mothers disagree with this classification for HARRY POTTER since HARRY POTTER has broken record sales for a children's series.

Then there is BLUBBER by Judy Blume. This book is on the list and yet many teachers use it in the classroom as a lesson in acceptance. It shows how an overweight girl overcomes the ridicule of her classmates.

Classics like OF MICE AND MEN by John Steinbeck and THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger have earned a place in the top fifty banned books for years.

Even Pulitzer Prize winning novels are not immune. It didn't stop the GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck from being condemned.

All these books are in good company. The number one book on the fifty most banned books is the Bible. Next is ULYSSES by James Joyce which was selected as the best novel of the 20th century.

Is there a connection between the various banned books? There doesn't seem any rhyme or reason for this unrelated collection of books. For instance, another one of the books which is often on high school reading lists and was made into a movie is Jack London's CALL OF THE WILD. It tells the story of a dog kidnapped and taken to Alaska where it struggles to survive.

Most recently, a Savannah school district pulled Shakespeare from the reading list, even though the teacher sent home permission slips before her students were to read HAMLET and MACBETH.

Want more information on banned books? PEN, an international group of writers, keeps track of censorship, and has a web site you can find by searching for on the Internet.

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