Banned Book Week is observed the last week of September each year. Each year the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom(OIF) compiles a list of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted to to the ALA by librarians and teachers across the country.
According to the ALA a challenge is “an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.”
The ALA promotes awareness of challenges to library materials and celebrates freedom of speech during Banned Books Week and promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one's opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular. The ALA stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them.
According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts.
The titles below represent the top 20 classics from that list that have been banned or challenged books.
“The Great Gatsby”, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
“The Catcher in the Rye”, by J.D. Salinger
“The Grapes of Wrath”, by John Steinbeck
“To Kill a Mockingbird”, by Harper Lee
“The Color Purple”, by Alice Walker
“Ulysses”, by James Joyce
“Beloved”, by Toni Morrison
“The Lord of the Flies”, by William Golding
“Lolita”, by Vladmir Nabokov
“Of Mice and Men”, by John Steinbeck
“Catch-22”, by Joseph Heller
“Brave New World”, by Aldous Huxley
“Animal Farm”, by George Orwell
“The Sun Also Rises”, by Ernest Hemingway
“As I Lay Dying”, by William Faulkner
“A Farewell to Arms”, by Ernest Hemingway
“Their Eyes Were Watching God”, by Zora Neale Hurston
“Invisible Man”, by Ralph Ellison
“Song of Solomon”, by Toni Morrison