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I Can’t Believe I Banned A Book: Banned Books Week Booklist

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Banned Books Week

Yes it’s true, there was once a book series that I banned from my then 12 year old. What’s that you say? The Magic Book Lady banning books from her literate prone household? Happy Banned Books Week everyone.

Banned Books Week

I’ve never been one who agrees with banning books. I believe in providing age appropriate reading materials for my children but not banning books. That worked until a little book called Hunger Games was discovered by my 12-year old. At this point the Hunger Games had been out a long time and had read it and it completely chilled me to the bone. The idea of putting up 12 children who all must die except 1 to save humanity just hit a little too close to home for some reason. The Hunger Game series is a well written and well conceived book series which still chills me to the bone whether in book or movie form.

I didn’t think another thing about it until we were at the library many months later and wonder son comes up with a stack of books in his arms, the top one being The Hunger Games. “Oh no, not that book,” I thought. And then I heard that very phrase coming out of my mouth. I said something very parental like, “It’s not age-appropriate for you and it deals with very difficult ideas that I don’t think you’re ready for.”  End of story I thought.

Hunger Games


It had developed a cult following since I had read it plus two more books had come out in the series and well there you have it , a must read book.

One day I walked into the attic room known as the cubby at our house and there was Wonder Son sitting on the bed reading a book hidden by a folder and that’s when I discovered he was secretly reading The Hunger Games.

So what to do? I could punish him, but really. Punish him for reading a book? I don’t think so. The road I took was that of opportunity. Instead of trying to protect him I decided to use The Hunger Games as a dialog tool. I told him he could read the book but that I wanted to have a conversation about it when he was finished. He came out of the cubby, could read freely and we had the greatest conversations over the entire book series. My opinion remains the same, but I also learned why he was attracted to the book and why it didn’t seem as scary to him as it did to me.

We read the other two books in the series at the same time talking all the way through them.  It allowed my voice and concerns to be heard. It allowed his points of views and concerns to be heard and at times we even agreed to disagree. I think that skill in itself is a very powerful and capable tool for both of us to have in our tool belts.

Since the Hunger Games, controversial and intense book discussions have continued with my wonder son as he is now a junior in high school. Just this year we had a very deep and meaningful conversation over The Scarlet Letter.

OK, so where do I stand with the Hunger Games? Go read it. Suzanne Collins is a brilliant writer to be able to elicit such strong responses. For us, her book series was a game changer and has opened the door to many incredible conversations.

Though Hunger Games is the only book I’ve ever banned, there have been many in the past. This week is Banned Books Week and this year’s theme is having to do specifically with YA (Young Adult) Titles. Here is a list of the most commonly banned YA books in the US. Have you read any of these ? What do you think?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)

Banned Books
Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi (Pantheon Books/Knopf Doubleday)

Banned Books
The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison (Holt, Rinehart, and Winston)

banned books
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury Publishing)

banned books
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (MTV Books/Simon & Schuster)

banned books
Drama by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix/Scholastic)

banned books
Chinese Handcuffs by Chris Crutcher (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins)

banned books
The Giver by Lois Lowry (HMH Books for Young Readers)

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Vintage/Knopf Doubleday)

banned books
Looking for Alaska by John Green (Dutton Books/Penguin Random House)

banned books

For more information about Banned Books Week have a look here and be sure and join the Virtual Read-Out.

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3 thoughts on “I Can’t Believe I Banned A Book: Banned Books Week Booklist

  1. Why in the world was Drama banned? I have a hard time with people banning books as well. They are not always age appropriate for everyone, but that’s what parents are for and when kids do read a book that we don’t think they are ready for, we need to have conversations with them. My 8 year old loves Drama! She also has read the other two books by Raina Telgemeier. I haven’t read this individual one, and now I’m really going to have to get on it, but the reality is that I doubt she has fully processed the parts that are deemed so horrible, she just loves anything that has to do with theater.

    I did check out the ALA’s website with these banned books and it just makes me sad. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is challenged because of the following reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying.”

    What kills me is that this book is aimed at 7th grade and up and depicts the author’s retelling of his own story. The “cultural insensitivity” that they complain about won’t go away unless we face it and deal with it, not pretend that it doesn’t happen. That’s the main problem with banning books to begin with, it usually has to do with a fear of actually letting our kids see that there are bad things out there and by over-protecting them we are just hurting them.

  2. Thanks for sharing your personal story! As a third grade teacher I do find myself saying “You know, I think you’ll really appreciate that book more when you’re older” rather than banning books outright. I appreciate how you let this guide you into a deeper conversation with your son.

    Thanks for sharing with #KidLitBlogHop!

  3. I agree with the other comment about Drama. It’s one we read and my middle schooler loved it, finishing it in just a day. I don’t think banning books is the way to go and believe parents need to take a bigger role in what their children read, watch, and play. My son read the Hunger Games when he was in high school and it was a series I had a difficult time with as well. Just the thought of children fighting to the death was more than I could handle, but my son and I talked about the books, as you did, and I agreed to let him read them. Some books, just like life situations, need to be discussed and if you know your child you can make informed decisions that benefit everyone. Thank you for sharing this post on the hop.

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