This week, the American Library Association (ALA) celebrates Banned Books Week — an annual event designed to celebrate our freedom to read, and highlight free and open access to information. This week marks the 30th anniversary of Banned Books Week, during which each year the ALA releases the top ten most challenged books of the past year — and once again, The Hunger Games trilogy made the list.
Of course, making the challenged books list isn’t necessarily a good thing — although many authors today have embraced it as a badge of honor. Books on this list are those most frequently challenged by parents and adults around the country, who want the book banned from libraries and/or school reading lists.
Part of what Banned Books Week celebrates is the fact that, despite these challenges, we live in a country where these books do remain on the library shelves. (The fight gets murkier when it comes to schools, where parents generally have more sway, and teachers are often forced to change their reading list or offer alternatives to the children of disgruntled parents.)
The Hunger Games was number three on the list this year, cited for the following reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence. With the book’s rise in popularity, it’s likely The Hunger Games will continue to see challenges over the next few years. Past hit series like Harry Potter and Twilight have also made the challenged book list in the past, as well as classics such as Huckleberry Finn and Catcher in the Rye. The Hunger Games also made the challenged books list last year.
Here is the rest of this year’s list:
- ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
- The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
- The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
- My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
- Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
- Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
- What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
- Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
- To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee Reasons: offensive language; racism