Since I shared my reasons for loving banned books week on Monday, I thought I’d share my most loved banned books today. There’s nothing that makes teens want to read books more than them being banned — luckily for them there are some real winners!
1. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote: Who doesn’t love a true crime novel? The only thing that makes this one better is that it’s written in Capote’s perfect prose. This book was challenged in Savannah, GA, when parents complained about the violence in the novel. My take? A lot less violent than some episodes of Criminal Minds or CSI!
2. Lord of the Flies by William Holding: It’s always fun when they try to ban a Nobel Prize Winner, isn’t it? My first foray into Lord of the Flies went pretty terribly — I certainly didn’t want to spend a whole semester talking about survival skills. Once I realized its value as a picture of deconstructed society, I fell in love. This book has the opportunity to grab all the teens who loved The Hunger Games or Matched, but in certain counties students never get the chance. It’s been challenged for profanity, violence and statements defaming God. My take? It’s a great representation of what happens when teenagers are left to build their own world and is a great stepping stone for post-apocalyptic YA fans.
3. The Witches by Roald Dahl: Witches who aren’t at Hogwarts? Say it isn’t so! Roald Dahl is a genius and this book has to be my favorite of his many amazing offerings. It’s been challenged because it portrays women in a negative light…or maybe just because it has supernatural elements. My take? It’s a beautifully written book, perfect for those kids who just don’t buy into the Harry Potter mania.
4. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: If I could go back and read anything over again for the first time, it might just be Madeline L’Engle’s books. A Wrinkle in Time was the first “big kid book” to which my second-grade teacher introduced me. Some might say I was a little too young to experience the tesseract, but sitting in that reading circle listening to Meg’s adventure is one of my fondest memories. People have tried to ban A Wrinkle in Time for everything from being pro-Communist to having a female lead character. My take? Pick up a copy for every child you know…and then go grab one for yourself.
5. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: For the uninitiated 451 degrees is the temperature at which paper burns, making this just about the most ironic challenge ever. Bradbury shows us a world where books have been removed and the media is controlled by the government. Spookily familiar during banned books week, no? People have challenged Fahrenheit 451 for its foul language since the main characters mention hell a lot. My take? If you haven’t ever read Bradbury’s book, now is the time. It shows what could happen when a society censors the arts or defunds libraries.
Are you as outrages as I am that these books are being banned?