Censorship is defined as "the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered politically unacceptable, or a threat to security" as defined by the Oxford Dictionary. Banning books because adults don't believe children and young adults should read them instead of allowing their parents and the children themselves what is appropriate for them to read. Sadly, banning books seems to be the current trend among certain groups of people for ridiculous reasons. Point blank - the banning of books is a scary step on the road to fascism that all citizens should be afraid of.
It is important to remember that the best way to counter censorship is to continue to read them and discuss them with those around you.
The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom releases the list of banned or challenged books yearly based on information from teachers and librarians around the country. They note that recently the books in question tend to deal with queer representation and books by authors of color. This shows a clear indication of the political ideology behind book banning.
The following links will lead you to institutions that are actively fighting the act of censorship and book banning:
Unite Against Book Bans - This is a campaign led by the American Library Association to increase awareness of the dangers of book banning. This group keeps track of the number of attempts to ban books and the different titles being pulled from the shelves. According to the site, they expect the number of banned books in 2022 to exceed those of 2021.
Books Unbanned - Run by the Brooklyn Public Library, this initiative works towards ensuring that teenagers have a say in what they are allowed to read. In order to make sure teenagers across the country have the opportunity to obtain a Brooklyn Public Library card. This library card not only gives the teenager access to those books banned by other states but the BPL's entire online library which is extensive.
These are some of the books that have been banned at some point: Following this list will be linked to other sites with far more extensive lists of banned books.
1984 - George Orwell: In 1981, this book was banned in Jackson Co., FL due to the fact that it was deemed to be pro-communist and for having excessive sexual language. Other counties in Florida have also attempted to challenge to the placement of this book due to the sexual language and violence.
To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee: This novel has been repeatedly banned due to the racial issues it brings to light. More recently, it has opened up the conversation into the white savior complex - the thought that African-American people need white people to come to their rescue. It is essential to have these discussions for people to understand why this complex is problematic.
The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood: There are a variety of reasons given for the banning of this dystopian novel including the fact that they considered it moronic and immoral. Year in and year out, The Handmaid's Tale is considered one of the most challenged books in the United States.
The Hate U Give - Angie Thomas: The usually given reasons for wanting to ban this book are foul language and drug use. More recently, some people have felt that this novel pushes an "anti-police" agenda" that they feel should not be expressed to young adults.
Thirteen Reasons Why - Jay Asher: This novel has been challenged due to the fact that some feel that suicide has been glamorized and they are afraid that it will lead other young adults to consider suicide the only option they have.
The Color Purple - Alice Walker: This book has been consistently banned based on LGBTQIA+ representation and the graphic images of domestic violence.
The Diary of a Young Girl - Anne Frank: This historic novel is constantly being challenged by sexual themes and the overall depressive tone of the book.
Speak - Laurie Halse Anderson: Speak was placed on the challenged book list for "exposing children to immortality" and it was believed that it should be labeled as soft porn.
Following are some lists of well-known banned books: