Banned Book Week Begins


Mackenzie Farkus, Editor in Chief

September 21 marked the beginning of Banned Book Week, an annual event celebrated across the nation. Banned Book Week commemorates books that have been banned from libraries and school districts for their content. Since Banned Book Week’s beginning in 1982, over 11, 300 books have been banned and challenged, according to the American Library Association.

Books are typically banned once they are deemed as having “explicit” content, for things like sexuality, word choice, and difference of religious views. However, actually banning books can manifest itself in a number of ways. Although this has decreased since the beginning of the  21st Century, governments have been known to ban books. For instance, abolitionist story Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe (anti-slavery content)  was banned by Confederate States during the Civil War and in Russia by Tsar Nicholas I, and Frankenstein by Mary Shelley (“obscene”, “indecent”) was banned in 1955 in apartheid South Africa. Such governments often burn these books or prosecute and/or fine citizens.

Currently, schools are the main vanguard for banning novels, whether it be classics or contemporary works. Instead of burning banned books, schools and districts remove books from libraries, censor out explicit words, or take books off school reading lists. In recent years, books such as Looking for Alaska by John Green (drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group) and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group) have been challenged or banned from schools across the country.

As of the 2012-2013 year, 10 books were banned in Texas, marking a decline in recent years. In 2008, Round Rock ISD banned TTYL by Lauren Myracle for vulgarity, but the ban was soon uplifted. There is also an approval list for books to be taught in the English curriculum. In order to get a novel on the approval list, teachers are required to write in detail why they believe the book should be taught.

The Library is celebrating Banned Book Week by encouraging students to read banned books. For the week, they will have a display featuring various novels that have been challenged or banned around the world throughout the years.