September 28th – October 2nd, 2020 is national Banned Books week, an annual celebration highlighting our freedom to read. To celebrate this historic week, we urge you to rebel and read these books that have been recently challenged by others.
More information on Banned Books Week can be found Here.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
This work was challenge by the Fraternal Order of Police in South Carolina for “almost an indoctrination of distrust of police and we’ve got to put a stop to that.” They requested it be pulled from the Wando High School’s list of optional reading assignments for incoming freshmen. The school has decided to retain it. It was also challenged in a Springfield, MO middle school, and removed from the curriculum pending a formal review. After a challenge in a Katy, TX high school, this book requires parental consent for students to check it out.
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Fear: Trump in the White
House by Bob Woodward
The public library in Couer d’Alene, ID received an anonymous submission which stated, “I noticed a large volume of books attacking our president. And I am going to continue hiding these books in the most obscure places I can find to keep this propaganda out of the hands of young minds. Your liberal angst gives me great pleasure.” And a West Virginia public library director declined a donation of this book. The library board did end up reversing that decision, and the donation was eventually accepted.
With authoritative reporting honed through nine presidencies, author Bob Woodward reveals in unprecedented detail the harrowing life inside President Donald Trump’s White House and precisely how he makes decisions on major foreign and domestic policies.
Fear is the most intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published during the president’s first years in office. The focus is on the explosive debates and the decision-making in the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One and the White House residence.
Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, personal diaries, files and documents. Often with day-by-day details, dialogue and documentation, Fear tracks key foreign issues from North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, the Middle East, NATO, China and Russia. It reports in-depth on Trump’s key domestic issues particularly trade and tariff disputes, immigration, tax legislation, the Paris Climate Accord and the racial violence in Charlottesville in 2017.
Fear presents vivid details of the negotiations between Trump’s attorneys and Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Russia investigation, laying out for the first time the meeting-by-meeting discussions and strategies. It discloses how senior Trump White House officials joined together to steal draft orders from the president’s Oval Office desk so he would not issue directives that would jeopardize top secret intelligence operations.
“It was no less than an administrative coup d’état,” Woodward writes, “a nervous breakdown of the executive power of the most powerful county in the world.”
Beartown by Fredrick Backman
This book (one of my personal favorites) was banned from a high school in Rockingham County, NC. A concerned parent contacted local churches to gain their support. One of the pastors told his congregation that it was “some of the most repulsive reading that you’ll ever be exposed to.” Other parents complained about its “vulgar”, “graphic” and “just unnecessary” subject matter.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever-encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon
This book has been banned and challenged multiple times and in numerous states. It was a summer reading assignment in a Leon County, FL school district until it was banned for inappropriate content and language. It was also moved from required reading to optional reading in Tallahassee, FL for profanity and atheism. It was also banned from a Wilson County, TN school, and pulled from their library for the “offensive language.” The decision was later rescinded.
Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. And he detests the color yellow.
This improbable story of Christopher’s quest to investigate the suspicious death of a neighborhood dog makes for one of the most captivating, unusual, and widely heralded novels in recent years.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
This is another regularly challenged work for reasons such as “desensitizes students to violence” and vulgarity. In Buncombe County, NC, and self-described “conservative government watchdog” complained that the book was opposed to the school’s requirement to teach sex education from an abstinence only perspective. The book was suspended, but later reinstated.
The unforgettable, heartbreaking story of the unlikely friendship between a wealthy boy and the son of his father’s servant, caught in the tragic sweep of history, The Kite Runner transports readers to Afghanistan at a tense and crucial moment of change and destruction. A powerful story of friendship, it is also about the power of reading, the price of betrayal, and the possibility of redemption; and an exploration of the power of fathers over sons—their love, their sacrifices, their lies.