Topping the list of banned books in 2012 was: Captain Underpants.
I’ll let you ponder the absurdity of that for a moment.
Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series created artwork to celebrate the freedom to read. This was my favorite.
I’m often stunned by titles that appear on this list. It isn’t just the banning of a delightful children’s book that caught my eye. How can you ban Pulitzer winners? Are people that terrified of ideas?
I guess they are.
While clicking through links of various banned book lists I came across this one: Banned Books That Shaped America. These are 30 classic and important titles someone, somewhere, feared enough to try (and sadly often succeed) to prevent others from reading. Books that often are required reading in high-level English classes. Books I encouraged my own children to read. I’m not sure there’s a single title on the list I wouldn’t call a classic. It’s enough to make you scratch your head and maybe even make you cry.
Here’s the list:
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884
The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, 1965 (Grove Press)
Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1987
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, 1970
The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903
Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961
The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951
Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940
Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936
The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925
Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 1956
In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1966
Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952
The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906
Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855
Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851
Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940
Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971
The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895
The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850
Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1948
Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961
A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, 1947
Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937
To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960
Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963
The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002
Of those 30 titles, I’ve read 20. My goal is now to read the remaining 10. And every Captain Underpants adventure.
What’s your favorite banned book?
Happy Banned Book Week!