Happy Banned Books Week, 2010!

It has arrived! ALA‘s yearly event to decry book banning and celebrate our freedom to read.

In honor of the occasion, here are Bookyurt’s top five favorite (i.e. most ridiculous) books from the 2009-2010 Banned and Challenged Books list:


Walker, Margaret



Challenged at the Jacksonville, Ill. High School (2010) by a pastor who said he found the fictionalized story of the author’s grandmother, who was born as a slave in Georgia, “offensive” and “trashy” and a novel about the way of life in the Old South. “We believe it is to promote superiority for white people and to step on black people and make them feel inferior.” The Ku Klux Klan challenged the novel in South Carolina in 1977 because it produces “racial strife and hatred.” Source: May 2010, pp. 104–5.

Byrt says: I actually haven’t read this book, but any book that raises the ire of both an African/American pastor and the KKK for exactly the opposite reasons deserves a spot on the list.


Meyer, Stephenie

The Twilight series

Little Brown

Banned in Australia (2009) for primary school students because the series is too racy. Librarians have stripped the books from shelves in some junior schools because they believe the content is too sexual and goes against religious beliefs. They even have asked parents not to let kids bring their own copies of Stephenie Meyer’s >smash hit novels — which explore the stormy love affair between a teenage girl and a vampire — to school. Source: Nov. 2009, pp. 207–8.

Byrt says: Really? You’re banning THE most CHASTE teenage romance you can possibly find for “sexual content”? I guess they don’t realize it has been mercilessly lampooned by all and sundry for its purity…


Lee, Harper

To Kill a Mockingbird

Lippincott/Harper; Popular Library

Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada (2009) because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “nigger.” Source: Nov 2009, pp. 203–4.



Frank, Anne

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl


Challenged at the Culpeper County, Va. public school (2010) by a parent requesting that her daughter not be required to read the book aloud. Initially, it was reported that offi cials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, due to the complaint that the book includes sexual material and homosexual themes. The director of instruction announced the edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of Frank’s death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future despite the fact the school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints. The remarks set off a hailstorm of criticism online and brought international attention to the 7,600-student school system in rural Virginia. The superintendent said, however, that the book will remain a part of the English classes, although it may be taught at a different grade level. Source: Mar. 2010, pp. 57–58; May 2010, p. 107.

Byrt says: Yes, because clearly the Holocaust was just window dressing to this tale of deviant sexual behavior.


Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff!

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary


Pulled from the Menifee, Calif. Union School District (2010) because a parent complained when a child came across the term “oral sex.” Offi cials said the district is forming a committee to consider a permanent classroom ban of the dictionary. Source: Mar. 2010, p. 55.

Byrt says: Yes, yes they did.

And there you have it! Of course, the eternal irony is that the people who clearly most need to read these books are the people so bent on banning them…

To enjoy the ridiculousness in it’s entirety, you can find the full list HERE.

So go out and read a banned book to celebrate!