We are celebrating Banned Books Week this week. The American government may not ban books from being printed, bought and sold but books are still frequently requested to be removed from schools and library shelves. During Banned Books Week, we celebrate the freedom to read whatever we want and discuss the dangers of restricting a community’s access to books.

In 2011, there were 326 known attempts to remove materials from schools and libraries. The following books were among the top ten books challenged or removed from libraries last year.

 ttyl, tffn, l8r g8r (Internet Girl Series) by Lauren Myracle
Told entirely through instant messages, this series follows the friendship of Maddie, Zoe and Angela, three sixteen-year-old girls ,as they experience some typical pitfalls of adolescence: boys, queen-bee types, a flirty teacher, beer, crazy parents and more.

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Capitol of Panem is harsh and cruel and keeps the twelve outlying districts in line by forcing them to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight-to-the-death on live TV. One boy and one girl are selected by lottery to play. Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to participate in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before – and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender–and a symbol for rebellion. She will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
 Junior is a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Based on the author’s own experiences, this novel chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live. 

Alice Series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Alice Series follows Alice McKinley as she grows up from third grader  high school graduate in Silver Springs, Maryland. Alic lives with her older brother and father. Her mother died when she was five and Alice struggles growing up in an all-male household. The books follow Alice as she navigates her life, her adventures with her three best friends, her family, and her romantic entanglements 

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
In 2540, most of the world has been unified into the World State. Through the most efficient scientific and psychological engineering, people are genetically designed to be passive and therefore consistently useful to the ruling class. John has grown up outside of the World State and when he is brought to London, he cannot accept the merits of a world based on consumerism without individuality, spirituality or personal freedom.

What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Composed entirely in short poems in free-verse, Sophie describes her struggles of freshman year and her relationships with a series of  boys. She’s openly dating sexy Dylan, chatting online with Chaz, and crushing on sweet, nerdy Murphy.

Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
This series revolves around the lives and loves of privileged teenagers at the Constance Billard School for Girls, an elite private school in New York City’s Upper East Side. The series primarily focuses on best friends Blair and Serena whose experiences are chronicled by an anonymous blogger known as “Gossip Girl.”

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Scout lives with her brother Jem and her father Atticus in 1930s Alabama. The children and their friend Dill spend their summers exploring their small town but when Atticus defends a black man accused of rape, Scout discovers that her town is steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy and she learns the power of quiet heroism.

Kimberly

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