Tag Archives: Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week Spotlight – Gossip Girl Series

What: Gossip Girl Series by Cecily von Zeigesar


Banned for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, being unsuited to age group and offensive language.


This series has been on the most challenged books list since 2006, and often for the same chain of reasoning, as stated above. Yes, this is a mature and somewhat graphic book. It does glamorize drugs (weed) sex (the never ending quest to lose one’s virginity before the age of 18) and friendship, backstabbing and shopping binges.

Is this book realistic? Not in comparison on my high school. Is this book over the top? Comletely. And the funny part, is that these characters doing these controversial things are flawed, clueless and immature. They are not role models, nor are they meant to be role models. The series has since transformed intself into a milder TV show. I wouldn’t recommend this book for teens under the age of 16, because of the mature content, but no matter how outlandish, the issues the teens these book deal with are symbolic of the same issues all teens deal with: peer pressure, friendship, puberty and maturity.
Instead of challenging these books, why not sit down with your child and discuss the issues and consequences and how they could relate to your child.


You can read my review of the series by following these links:

Gossip Girl here

You Know You Love Me here

All I Want is Everything here

Because I’m Worth It here

I Like It Like That here

Banned BooksWeek Spotlight: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

What I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou


Removed as required reading in Annapolis, Md. freshman English curriculum (2006) because the book’s rape scenes and other mature content are too advanced for ninth graders. The freshman English class syllabus is sent home to parents to read at the beginning of each year. It warns them of the book’s mature themes and allows parents to ask to have their children read another book instead. Source: ALA May 2006, pp. 132–33.

Thoughts:  The general synposis:

This is the first in a five volume biography series. Written in 1983, it chronicles Maya’s life from age 3 to her early teens. The details of her childhood living with her grandmother in Arkansas, her absentee parents that just flicker in and out of her life, and her incredible bond with her brother showcase the value of family, loyalty, strength and the basic human instinct of survival.
The book is challenged because of the rape scene. I remember when I was younger, one of my teachers showing us this movie in class, and fast forwarding through the rape scene in the movie. Although it is a graphic and heartbreaking part of the story, it is there as proof of Maya Angelou’s accomplishments and ability to oversome some of the worst obstacles in life. It is a shame to ban this from so many teenagers that could benefit from the role model Maya Angelou has become.

You can read my review of this title here.


Bookworms Carnival – Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week 2009

To jumpstart the week-long look at banned/controversial books, I’m hosting the 37th Edition of the Bookworms Carinval. The links below are broken up into 3 groups, reviews of challenged Adult and Young Adult books, challenged children’s books, and the reviews sent in to me about Like Water for Chocolate.

Reviews – Adult / Young Adult books

Yule Time Reading:  The Kite Runner

Chaotic Compendiums:  Always Running

Kinga B:   A Clockwork Orange

Lahni Rawlings:  A Handmaid’s Tale and Farhrenheit 451

Smarty Pants Know it All:  Blood and Guts in High School

Reviews – Kid books

@ Deckled Edges:  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

@ Age30books: Wizardology

@ Read Space is also celebrated Banned Books Weeks by taking a look at Forgotten Books.

@ Blue Stocking Society: Girl With A Pearl Earring

Life Water For Chocolate Reviews

Rebecca Reids

The Bibliobrat

Zen Leaf


Author Interview:
Books and Movies: Literary Road Trip



I will also be posting a spotlight series on various Banned Books this week, focusing on when and why they were challenged. Titles will include:

Gossip Girl by Cecila van Ziegesar

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Reminder – Bookworms Carnival


Hey everyone please don’t forget to send in your entries for Edition 37 of the Bookworms Carnival. The theme is Banned Books Week.  I have a few fantastic submissions already, but I’d love to have more! I’m looking for reviews, author interviews, guests posts, or any special features. The deadline is Sept. 11th, so please get them in early!!

Not sure what to send in? Here are some useful links to help get you started.

1. Here is the official Banned Books Week website.

2. Google lets you get a preview from some frequently challenged titles.

3. Here are the 10 most challenged books f 2008

The 10 most challenged titles were:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

YL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint,
sexually explicit, and violence

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

Gossip Girl
(series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age  group

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding
, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Call for posts –Bookworms Carnival

In a few short weeks, I’ll be hosting the 37th Edition of the Bookworms Carnival, honoring Banned Books Week, (Sept 26th to October 3rd)

The theme, is very simple. Send in current or older posts on the controversial and often banned books that you’ve read and written about.

Freedom of speech and freedom of thought are very valued aspects of human life, for the writer and for the reader. Often, a truthful, but difficult book is deemed unworthy of attention, for whatever reason.  Share your thoughts, you’re reads and your top picks for this next event!

Deadline: Please e-mail your links to: rantsandreads@gmail.com by September 11th.

Banned Books Week Sept 27th – Oct 4th

Well now, what kind of librarian would I be if I didn’t mention Banned Book Week on my blog?

The American Library Association (ALA) has posted the 10 most frequently banned books and authors of 2007. I’ve posted the list below the link. I must say that some of these authors are repeat offenders, and I am glad that this is being brought to attention. Although my library doesn’t receive many complaints about books, I haven’t had to figure out the psychology behind the “I didn’t like it, so no one else should read it” mentality.

This is what ALA had to say about BBW on their website:

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).

BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.

BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

Intellectual freedom, censorship and copyright issues are some of the most prevalent issues libraries deal with on a daily basis. We are just gatekeepers to information. Librarians aren’t parents or guardians. We are not responsible for sitting down a child and explaining why certain materials are not age appropriate. That should be the parent’s responsibility. Its never fair that parents try to shirk away that responsibility just by getting rid of the book. The problem will resurface eventually.

Most libraries will have some sort of display or lists of frequently banned books. Many other locations, college campuses, bookstores, etc, will be hosting read-outs. My former college is hosting a read-out today, gathering people to read 15-20 minutes from their favorite banned book. I unfortunately won’t be able to make it, but you can check out this link to find out what is going on in your state and local area. BannedBooksWeekpicturecopy.jpg picture by n_avanesian

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