Read a Banned Book This Week!

WHS Lions Pride Original Story:

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by Kaitlyn Culpepper

Many students have no idea that Banned Books Week has been in full swing since September 21st and ends September 27th. Avid readers around the country get very fired up, especially at this time, about books that have been challenged or banned in different schools, counties, and even whole states.

When it comes to boldly explicit novels such as Fifty Shades of Grey, one can immediately understand why there are those that think it should be pulled off of the shelves. There are other popular books and series that have been recently challenged, however, that could come as a surprise to many.

The top ten challenged books list out of 307 from 2013 contains some favorites of elementary school kids as well as teenagers. Number one is the Captain Underpants series, by Dav Pilkey, for offensive language, violence, and the fact that it’s unsuited for the age group it is made available to.

I remember as far back as the third grade how kids in my class (mostly boys) would fight over the different books in the series as they came in, and my brother in second grade has talked about it as well. Something to think about: is the fact that a challenged book is so well liked a sign that it should not be banned or further proof that it’s negatively influencing children?

One challenged series that I would guess a great number of WHS students have read while in high school is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. It has been assigned by different WHS teachers in the last few years, but it’s actually number five on the top ten challenged books list.

The reasoning is that it has a religious viewpoint and is unsuited to the high school age group. One can’t deny that high school students reading about teenagers killing each other is at least a little bit alarming. Although those against it being banned would argue that there’s more beyond the violence that makes it a great series, from the powerful female heroine to the idea that we should stand up to injustice in the world.

Some other books that stood out to me from the 2013 top ten challenged list were Looking for Alaska by John Green (author of The Fault in Our Stars), The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephan Chbosky, and the Bone series by Jeff Smith. If anyone is interested in why these were challenged, or what other titles were on the list, more information can be found at ala.org.

If one of your favorite books ends up banned, don’t despair. There are many books that have been challenged and banned throughout the years that later ended up being extremely important examples of powerful literature and are now taught in classrooms all over the world. Classics such as The Call of the Wild, The Great Gatsby, Gone with the Wind, The Scarlet Letter and The Grapes of Wrath were once banned, some in certain states and some in entire countries for a decade or two.

That only scrapes the surface of all the controversial, amazing novels that were once banned, so if you want to get ahead of the game, find a copy online of a banned book today and read it before everyone else realizes it’s actually brilliant.

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