Banned (not Band) Books

Support the First Amendment, Read a Banned Book

I am happy to say that in my twelve years of teaching I have taught a number of books that have been challenged in other communities.  I have even taught that explicit book Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman.  I once went to a seminar where the topic of the seminar became whether or not to teach Section 5 of “Song of Myself” and the explicit passages.

So, of the ALA’s list of  challenged classics I have taught or I have on the shelves in my room for students to check out the following:

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
Their Eyes are Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Native Son by Richard Wright
Go Tell it on the Mountanin by James Baldwin
The World According to Garp by John Irving
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Awakening by Kate Chopin
My Antonia by Willa Cather
A Good Man Is Hard to Find by Flannery O’Connor
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
O Pioneers! by Willa Cather

But I also have these additional challenged  books for students to read on the shelves in my room-

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
The Witches, by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
The Goats, by Brock Cole
Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton (I actually have them all read this.)
The Pigman, by Paul Zindel
Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes
Harry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling
James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl
A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan
On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya
The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher
That Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton
Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

So, I’m happy to say that the community that I teach in is open to ideas that challenge our world – racism, racial language, sex and sexuality, violence, rape, hazing, loss of a parent, religion, fantasy worlds. Here’s to the first amendment. Here’s to courageous publishers and writers. Here’s to those of us not afraid to read about something different than what we know and think for ourselves!

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Fran Harvey says:

    Some of my favourite books are on that list. I read and reread Tiger Eyes endlessly when I was a kid. It would never occur to me that many books on the list are even challengable – but I’m glad you’ve got so many of them available for your class. I guess books that are, in themselves, challenging are always going to cause a stir.
    Hitchhiker’s Guide, though? Really?

    I wondered if you had chosen your final reading list book yet?

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      You know, after working with them for 3 weeks now I can see that what we need is not another book but some directed effort at vocabulary building, sentence construction, and spelling. So without making it onerous I’ve decided to use short stories to help with some of these things and not add another book right away. I am going to use Little Brother as a parent/kid book group book and then if it looks like my multifarious approach to grammar and usage is working, add the Graveyard Book. This way I can have it all!!

      I love Tiger Eyes (BTW).

  2. Paul C says:

    Bravo and well said:

    ‘Here’s to those of us not afraid to read about something different than what we know and think for ourselves!’

    1. Kate Tabor says:

      Just so you know, I consider you one of those excellent people not afraid to read about something different than what you know.

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