Banned Books Week

Bless Me Ultima Book Jacket

Challenged for profanity and pagan content.

Banned Books Week, September 27-October 3, 2015, is a celebration of the freedom to read and the resistance to censorship worldwide.

Portland Community College (PCC) Library is a strong advocate of the principle of the freedom to read, supporting the concept that a vital democratic society depends on unfettered access to ideas. Censorship of books prevents individuals from accessing the full range of viewpoints and perspectives so they can learn from them and draw their own conclusions about their merits.

Every year in the United States there are hundreds of requests across the country to remove books from libraries and schools. These are some common reasons given for requesting that a book or other resources be removed or restricted:

  • sexually explicit content
  • contains offensive language
  • is unsuited to its age group
  • occult theme or promoting the occult or Satan
  • violence
  • promoting homosexuality
  • promoting a religious viewpoint
  • anti-family

Recommended websites

ACLU Banned Books Week
Books that have been challenged in Oregon from 1979-2014.

Banned Books Week
The American Library Association says that books featured during this week have all had attempts for banning or some kind of restriction.

American Library Association: Top 100 Banned/Challenged books
Titles that have been challenged between 2000-2009

A database of news articles and editorials on intellectual freedom issues for the past 65 years.

Frequently Challenged Books
Includes a visual chart displaying the number of challenges by the reason for challenge.

Most Frequently Challenged Authors of the 21st Century
Compiled by the American Library Association, this site includes the top ten challenged books by year from 2001-2011.

Oregon Library Association: Celebrate the Freedom to Read in Oregon
Facebook page dedicated to fighting censorship, protecting intellectual freedom, and celebrating the freedom to read.

Oregon Intellectual Freedom Clearinghouse Annual Reports
Challenges to library materials in Oregon from 1988 to June 2015.


Banned or challenged books

Title Author Call Number and
Area of Concern
1984 George Orwell 823.912  O79b  1982 Challenged in Jackson County, Florida because the novel is “pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter”.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Samuel Langhorne Clemens (Mark Twain) 813 TWAIN 1958 Banned by Concord Public Library on grounds of it being “more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people,” recently its portrayal of race and word nigger has seen many efforts to remove from school list
Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain 813 TWAIN 1996 “Questionable character” of the main character.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll 823.8  C37  1993 Banned in China in 1931 because the talking animals were considered blasphemous to Chinese beliefs.
All Quiet on the Western Front Erich Maria Remarque 833.91 R44 1987 (video) Banned in Nazi Germany and was among the titles set for public burning in 1933.
Animal Farm George Orwell 823.912  O79a  2003 Banned in the U.S.S.R. for anti-communist themes, in some Islamic nations for “religious reasons”.  It was also banned in the U.S.A. for communist material in its introduction, although the book itself was a vicious satire on Stalinism.
Another Country James Baldwin BALDWIN 1993 Some schools considered it pornographic.
Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, The Benjamin Franklin 973.3092  A2 2005 Banned For “social reasons”. Copies were “sanitized” by publishers so schools would buy copies of the book.
Awakening, The Kate Chopin 813 CHOPIN 1981 Banned for disagreeable glimpses of sensuality and language unfit for publication.
Babbitt Sinclair Lewis 813 LEWIS 1950 Banned For “social reasons”.
Beloved Toni Morrison 813 MORRISO 1987 Challenged for its language.
Black Like Me John Howard Griffin 975.00496073   G75 1996 Banned for its portrayal of racial tension.
Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya 813 ANAYA 1999 Banned for profanity and pagan content.
Bluest Eye, The Toni Morrison 813 MORRISO 1994 Banned for its explicit sexual content.
Brave New World Aldous Huxley Popular Collection
Banned in Ireland in 1932 for “centering around negative activity” also banned for language and anti-family and anti-Christian.
Burger’s Daughter Nadine Gordimer 823.914  G67b  1980 Banned after the Soweto uprising.
Call of the Wild Jack London 813 LONDON 1990  Many of Jack London’s books were banned in Europe for being “too radical” or having pro-socialist leanings.
Candide Voltaire 843.5  VOLTAIR U.S. Customs seized Harvard-bound copies of Candide.
Catch-22 Joseph Heller 813 C3 2011 Banned for sexual content, depictions of defying authority, profanity, and racially insensitive content.
Catcher in the Rye, The J.D. Salinger 813 SALINGE 1991 Banned for profanity, sexual references and that it “undermines morality”. Also called blasphemous by some because of repeated use of the word “goddamn”.
Chocolate War, The Robert Cormier 813 CORNIER 2011 Banned for language, depiction of schoolchildren bullying other children and many references to the protagonist pondering about his sexual orientation.
Clan of the Cave Bear Jean Auel 813 AUEL 1980 Banned from the Cascade Middle School library at Eugene, Oregon in 1992 for “hardcore graphic sexual content”.
Clockwork Orange, A Anthony Burgess 823.914  B87c  1993 Banned from schools for language.
Cold Mountain Charles Frazier 813 FRAZIER 1997 Banned on political grounds for sympathetic portrayal of desertion.
Color Purple, The Alice Walker 813 WALKER 2003 Sexually Explicit and offensive language.
Cujo Stephen King KING 1982 Banned for subject matter and language.
Decent of Man, The Charles Darwin 576.82 D37o 1952 Describing how man originated from primates.
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury 813 F3 2012 Copies used in school literature classes were edited to omit the words “hell”, “damn”, and “abortion”. These were called “sanitized” editions and the author was not informed of this process.
Final Exit Derek Humphry 362.28  H86  1991 Documents suicide techniques and  discusses euthanasia.
Grapes of Wrath, The John Steinbeck 813 STEINBEC 1992 Banned for language and depiction of migrant life. It was cited as socialist propaganda. Several months after book’s publication, a St. Louis, MO library ordered three copies to be burned for the vulgar words used by its characters. It was also banned in Kansas City and in Oklahoma. To date, it has been challenged or banned in 10 states.
Great Books of the Western World
(English minor poems. Paradise lost. Samson Agonistes. Areopagitica.)
John Milton 821.47  M56  1955 Areopagitica – for plea against censorship. Paradise Lost – for denial of predestination.
Group, The Mary McCarthy 813 MCCARTH 1963 Banned for sexually outspoken depiction of eight Vassar graduates in the 1930s.
Gulag Archipelago 1918-1986, The Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn 365.450947  S65g  1991 Banned in the U.S.S.R. for depicting human rights abuses by the Soviet government, particularly in its justice system and prisons.
Harry Potter: Chamber of Secrets J.K. Rowling ROWLING 2000 Banned for the references to the occult and the demonic attributes of this series – witchcraft, sorcery and rebellion against authority. New Mexico burned the book, and it has also been challenged in 19 states.
Heart of Darkness Joseph Conrad 823.912  C66h  1998 Banned for the use of the word “nigger” and depictions of graphic violence.
Joy Luck Club, The Amy Tan 813 TAN 1989 Challenged because of “conflict with the values of community”.
Jude the Obscure Thomas Hardy 823 A1 2001 Challenged for child murder and suicide.
July’s People Nadine Gordimer 823.914  G67j  1981 Banned in its setting, South Africa.
Kaffir Boy Mark Mathabane 968.0049  M38  1987 Banned Because of its graphic content of child prostitution.
Lady Chatterley’s Lover D.H. Lawrence 823.912 L38 1928 Banned in the U.K. because of explicit sexual content until a celebrated obscenity trial in 1961.
Last Temptation of Christ, The Nikos Kazantzakis 889.3  K39  1988 Banned for religious reasons.
Leaves of Grass Walt Whitman 811.3  W55L 1973 Banned for religious reasons and homoerotic themes.
Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquirel 863.6  E86l  1992 Contains sexually explicit and inappropriate material.
Madame Bovary Gustav Flaubert 843.8  F53m  1948 Formerly banned in France for political reasons and sexual content.
Master and Margarita Mikhail Bulgakov 891.7342  B85m  1992 Not published until after the author’s death because of censorship in Russia.
Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler 943.086  H57  2004 Banned for racist material.
Moll Flanders Daniel Defoe 813 DEFOE 1985 Banned for sexual situations.
My Sister’s Keeper Jodi Picoult PICOULT 2009 Banned for sexism, homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, religious viewpoint, drugs, suicide, and violence.
Native Son Richard Wright 813.54  WRIGHT 1989 Banned for violence and rape.
Nineteen Eighty-Four George Orwell 823.912  O78n  2003 Challenged in 1981, Jackson County of Florida on the founds that the book was “pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter”.
Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck STEINBEC  2002 Banned for using offensive language, racism and violence.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey 813 KESEY 1996 Banned for its close look into an all male asylum. The book showed the corrupt application of inflexible systems of social, medical or legal controls over the human mind.
Ordinary People Judith Guest 813 GUEST 1976 Banned for teenaged suicide.
Origin of Species Charles Darwin 575.0162  D37 1979 Banned for illustrating the concept of evolution.
Perks of Being A Wallflower, The Stephen Chbosky 813.54 PER 2012 Banned for homosexuality, sexually explicit, anti-family, offensive language, religious viewpoint, drugs, and suicide.
Rainbow Boys Alex Sanchez 813 SANCHEZ 2001 Banned because of gay content and pervasively vulgar.
Rights of Man, The Thomas Paine 320  P35  1995 Banned in the U.K. and its author prosecuted for treason of its seditious content.
Sanctuary William Faulkner 813 FAULKNE 1958 Banned for sexuality and violence.
Scarlet Letter, The Nathaniel Hawthorne 813 HAWTHO 1987 Banned by religious clergy for its adultery theme.
Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson 813 GUTERSO 1995 Banned by the Modesto, California city council from the schools because of “objectionable content”.
Sons and Lovers D.H. Lawrence 823.912  L38s  1913 Banned for sexuality themes.
Thousand Acres, A Jane Smiley 813 SMILEY 1992 Banned because the wealthy Iowa farmer in this story is a pedophile.
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 813 LEE 1999 Challenged for racial slurs, racism, offensive language.
Ulysses James Joyce 823.912  J69u  1961 Banned in the United States until 1933 because it was considered impossible to read and obscene.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin Harriet Beecher Stowe 813 STOWE 1995 Banned in Southern U.S. states as anti-slavery propaganda and for negative depiction of slave-owners; banned in czarist Russia; banned in Waukegan, Illinois (1984) for undesirable racial language.
Women in Love D.H. Lawrence 813 LAWRENC 1976 Banned for sexuality.


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