Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Introducing the Banned Books Reading Challenge!

Censorship. A nasty word, a horrible concept, and yet it never goes away, does it? Especially in adolescent literature, authors who dare to write about serious or controversial topics are often slammed, shunned, and criticized. Earlier this month a teen lit festival in Texas disinvited bestselling YA author Ellen Hopkins because a handful of adults felt that she and her books are not appropriate literature for children. Last year I talked about an English teacher who got under fire because she used YA books as supplementary texts beside the regular English curriculum. Censorship, censorship, it comes and it goes, but it's always there.

Banned Books Week 2010 is coming up soon, between September 25 and October 2. However, we bloggers, lovers, readers, writers, and supporters of YA lit are going to make this bigger and better. Donna at Bites has put together a Ban This! celebration for the months of September and October, encouraging bloggers to link to their reviews of banned or challenged books, or otherwise feature them in some way or another on your blogs.

I come to you with another proposal: a community Banned Books Reading Challenge. I've contacted Donna and several bloggers who've done personal challenges of this sort and have their support for hosting this challenge. Please read on and consider participating if you want to help support freedom of information in YA literature and fight censorship!

The Banned Books Reading Challenge 2010

Goals of This Challenge:
  • To bring attention to books that have been challenged or banned
  • To support authors whose freedom of expression have been questioned or challenged by buying and reading their books
  • To increase awareness of censorship

The best way to fight censorship is to do what these challengers rarely do, and that is to READ the books that have been challenged and educate ourselves on their content and impact on our society!

  • The challenge will run from September 1, 2010 to October 15, 2010.
  • The challenge is open to any reader with an online blogging platform who'd like to participate.
  • I personally will devote my attention towards mostly YA literature challenged within the last decade, but you are welcome to any books of your choosing, from challenged picture books (there are a lot of them) to frequently banned classics.
  • I will make it my goal to read at least 7 challenged or banned books (one for each day of Banned Books Week), but you are welcome to read less or more.

  1. You must create a main post on your own blog where you state your intention to take part in this challenge, a tentative goal, and link back to this post. This main post will be where you link to your reviews of the banned or challenged books you've read, or to otherwise talk about issues revolving around book challenges, censorship, and more.
  2. I highly encourage you to visit one another's blogs and to support one another via comments and spreading the word. The more people we can get to read challenged and banned books, the more we are learning and the more we are proving to the handful of adults who feel like they have the right to say what kids and teens can or can't read that they do not have the power to hold us down!


As this is the first time I'm hosting a challenge, please bear with me if things do not go as smoothly as we'd like. If you have any questions or suggestions, or if you'd like to contributed to the Banned Books Reading Challenge via a guest post, button, or giveaway, please email me at stephxsu at gmail dot com. I'll be happy to hear from you!

Sign up below. Please use the format
Your name: Name/Alias (Blog Name in parentheses)
Your URL: the URL of your sign-up post!

Good luck and have fun! :)

[ETA 9/7/10] Due to a lack of knowledge on my part, I have unfortunately negated the code for the first sign-up Mr. Linky. :( You can click above to see those of you who've already signed up. For anyone who wants to continue signing up, please use the widget below, following the same format. This does not meet that you have to sign up again if you already did so! Your link is still above, if you click forward to another page. Sorry about this! I now know better for next time. :(


  1. This is an awesome challenge! I just might have to partake in it! :)

  2. I am so there! I absolutely abhor the idea of censorship--I think everyone has the right to read and write whatever they want. I love the idea of spreading awareness on this issue. Thanks for the challenge!

  3. P.S. I don't think the Mister Linky is working for me. It's just giving me a blank page. :( Unless you mean the 'Create a Link' link at the bottom of the page--then I'd be inclined to smack myself. :D

    In the meantime, I'll just be working on my post. I'm loving this so far!

  4. Wonderful challenge - have fun reading to everyone joining:)

  5. Great challenge! I could definitely see doing this every year! We'll be participating over at http://LoveYALit.com. Thanks Steph Su!

  6. I'm sure everything will go smoothly, Steph! :) Good luck to everyone!

  7. Great idea--I'll link this from my blog.

  8. This is a fabulous idea. I'm not sure how I'll participate yet but I've already pimped this out on my blog!

  9. I think this is a great challenge. I had actually planned to read 7 books for banned book week and I've got some awesome goodies to give away from the ALA's theme this year. I'm excited to get started by entering this challenge.

  10. Great idea! I can't wait to start reading these books.

  11. I'm really excited about this challenge!

  12. I am really confused. I find the concept of this challenge very interesting but then I went to check those banned titles and hence my confusion:

    To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee
    Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger
    Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ,Mark Twain
    Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison
    Love and Other Four Letter Words , Carolyn Mackler

    there are so many books in that list that it's surreal.

    I guess in Europe there is a very different approach, I was forced to read Steinbeck and Salinger in high school!

  13. I just posted my intro post and linked back here! Feel free to check it out here: http://kimmyblair.wordpress.com/2010/09/02/i-read-banned-books/

    I can't wait to read everyone's blog posts!

  14. Thanks for organizing this; I'm set to go with some books that have been on my to-read list for some time. I'm sure you'll love Choldenko and Alexie's books. I've posted about each on my blog (http://elirosswriter.wordpress.com). Both are funny and true, and Alexie's is incredibly powerful as well.

  15. Wonderful idea! I can't wait to start. :)

  16. I am so glad you are doing this, Steph! I know I have my own challenge but I am going to join in with you and Donna both to make it more of a focus in the next few weeks. I am reading less now because I started school again but I will be calling attention to this very important cause. Censorship is so not cool with me. I don't like being told what I can and cannot read. Who made some conservative backwoods scaredy-cat parents the boss of the rest of us, I ask you.

    I will come back and sign up once I have a chance to make a post. I am getting ready to head out for a night paddle in a kayak right now! Woohoo! But I am bookmarking this so I can come back and write it up.

  17. I have to see if I can fit this into the big plan for this month. :)

  18. I love the Banned Books celebrations, and this challenge is the perfect way to get in on the action. I thought that I might not have much time for this with all of my other obligations, but most of Roald Dahl's books have been challenged at some point. Since September is Roald Dahl month, and I want to read THE WITCHES for the R.I.P. Challenge, I think I can combine them all for some good fun. I'll come back and sign the Mr. Linky when I get my post together. Thanks.

  19. So glad you started this Steph! I'm more than happy to join. :]

  20. This is a great challenge for a great awareness!!!

  21. I always concentrate on reading banned books and showing my children the importance of our lucky we are that we live in a place where we can read what we want. Freedom. So, when it's threatened, I want to teach them to stand up as I do. I'll have my daughter participate as well by reading some R. Dahl books as well.

  22. Definitely a worthy challenge. I can't believe how many books I've found this morning that have been banned!

    Thanks for hosting. :-)

    - Jillian

  23. I've been checking out everyone's blogs on this page and they are all so great! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Emilyandherlittlepinknotes: We have weird people in the the United States and people with nothing better to do. And it's gotten worse since we elected the President. We even have a certain talk show host telling Americans that attending Universities and Colleges is communistic...ugh. I'm off my soap box LOL

    I plan to take part in this!! I'll make a post :)

  25. I am so excited! This is perfect for me to do - I will be ready to help everyone in my little corner of the world find a banned book to read!

  26. I found you via Beth Revis. I look at those lists and can't help but get really sad. I've read so many without ever knowing they'd been banned and I can't imagine how much poorer I would be if I have not read them.

  27. Great idea! The only problem has been choosing from such a long and varied list of books, which I suppose speaks volumes about the need for Banned Books Week!

  28. I just got my list up! Thanks for hosting this. Hopefully more and more people join and spread the word about book banning.

  29. Ban on books (or any written text) is rediculous. Honestly, I thought book censorship belonged to the past in the Western world. Maybe Europe is more liberal than America? It's 30-40 years since sexual content or blasphemy in books made any fuzz over here. In 10th grade in public school, the kids learn how to put on and use a condom, and YA literature with sexual content is no problem.

    Anyway, I support your initiative.
    I've always been facinated by banned books, where they were banned and why (some time ago I wrote a blog post about the Cathiolics' Index Librorum Prohibitum HERE )

    Cold As Heaven

  30. This is a great idea. I look forward to reading books, posting about them and seeing what others are doing. Thanks for doing this, and you've listed great resources, too.

  31. A great idea, thanks for taking the trouble to host.

  32. Great challenge! Going through the lists right now and am amazed by what all is banned! So sad! I can't wait to start!

  33. I wanted to do something for BBW but couldn't come up with anything creative enough. Thanks for thinking of this for me! I'll be getting started right away. I just can't believe some of the books suggested to be banned. I can think of much worse!

    Buried in Books

  34. CRAP! my link posted 2x but only one goes to the BBC post. I'm so sorry about that!

  35. Thanks for hosting this!

    I put my link in twice because it said 'testing link' on the first (for some reason). I'm assuming you'll delete the 'testing link' one.


  36. Huck Finn and His Critics - my take on the greatest banned book of all: http://www.317am.net/2010/09/ras-huck-and-his-critics.html

  37. Thank you for hosting this challenge! I look forward to reading the banned/challenged books that fellow bloggers have read for this challenge.


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