Why celebrate Banned Books Week?

Posted on: September 25, 2016

Banned Book Week: Celebrating Diversity

This week is Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read. Why do we celebrate this week?

James Madison, for whom our university is named, is known as the “Father of the Constitution.” The first amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects freedom of expression by prohibiting Congress from restricting the press or the rights of individuals to speak freely. But in the U.S. and around the world, books have been (and continue to be) censored, challenged, removed, or banned from schools, libraries, cities, states, and countries. Many challenged or banned books “are by authors of color, or contain events and issues concerning diverse communities.” By drawing attention to the harms of censorship, Banned Books Week supports the freedom to seek information and to express ideas.

Join in this annual celebration of intellectual freedom by checking out from JMU Libraries one these books that have been banned by governments or challenged/banned from libraries or schools:

American Psycho: A Novel by Bret Easton Ellis

An Area of Darkness by V.S. Naipaul

Animal Farm by George Orwell

Bad Samaritans: The Guilty Secrets of Rich Nations and the Threat to Global Prosperity by Ha-Joon Chang

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kucklin

Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Brave New World: A Novel by Aldous Huxley

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure by John Cleland

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Howl by Allen Ginsberg

The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende

I Didn’t Do It for You: How the World Betrayed a Small African Nation by Michela Wrong

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

July’s People by Nadine Gordimer

The Jungle by Upton Sinclair

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence

Looking for Alaska: A Novel by John Green

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

Native Son by Richard Wright

1984 by George Orwell

Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

Spycatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer by Peter Wright

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe Hall

Read more about banned & challenged books, and the freedom to read, here:

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