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This week September 21-27, 2014 is Banned Books Week. Take a look at the top 100 banned books

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/top-100-bannedchallenged-books-2000-2009

Read on for my favorite banned books.

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Five Banned Books that Changed my Life

As I contemplated about banned books on the list, I thought about the books that I love. Some of these books I read as a child or an adolescent, or a young adult, or even as an adult. I love each of them for the emotions they evoke in me. I love that the words on the pages make me feel strong, brave, and better than I really am. They make me think outside of my world and allow me to experience different cultures.

I grew up in the rural beauty of Montana, where television was sketchy and required aluminum foil over the antenna to work. Bad weather routinely brought down the electricity and we were left in the dark. It was dark by 4:00 PM in the winter. Books were my salvation. I couldn’t believe that the places described in books really existed! Did people really dress up in expensive jewels just to eat supper? Did castles really have moats? Did the South really have mansions with towering white columns?

I can’t imagine a world without the books that I love; yet routinely I see them on the Banned & Challenged Book List published by the American Library Association. At least five of my most treasured books are on the last decade’s list (2000-2009). One of my five faves is number one! Can you guess what it is? Yes Harry Potter!

1. The Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling is number 1 on the Banned and Challenged Book List. Hard to believe that a book that touched so many lives, and created a whole new genre of books is number one. J.K. Rowling opened the door for a legion of new Young Adult writers, myself included. Without her, my stories would have gone unpublished, lost in my mind, and deemed too dark for children.

2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain is number 14 on the list. I read and loved this book in grade school. Huckleberry Finn was wild, vulgar, and free, and ran around with people who were socially and racially different from the general population. I wanted to think that I could be that carefree, even though I knew I couldn’t.

3. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker is number 17 on the list. Oh my gosh! I love that book and Celie. She is the beaten down woman that finds her inner courage and changes her life. She makes her own happiness. Who couldn’t love Celie?

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee is number 21. I read this book in High School. I love the innocence of Scout and the integrity of her father Atticus. The message? Even when you know you can’t win, you still fight for what is right. The message still resounds today.

5. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume is number 99 on the list. I rented this book from the library for a solid three months when I was young. My body was changing, I had emotions I couldn’t understand, and I felt different from everyone else. Fortunately for me, Margaret had all of the same problems! That book got me through puberty. Judy Blume is a mover and a shaker, discussing personal things in a way that adolescents and children can understand.

Here is the website for The American Library Association’s Banned and Challenged Books list. If you are so inclined, they accept donations to help oppose censorship.

http://www.ala.org/bbooks/top-100-bannedchallenged-books-2000-2009

Which of your favorite books are on the list?
I’m just curious. What is the book that you are most surprised to see on the list?

Read on! Banned or otherwise. 🙂

D.E.L. Connor