Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Why Didn't I Think of That? 2013 Banned Books Challenge

Christine over at Buckling Bookshelves knows me very well.

She commented on my recent Top Ten Bookish Memories post that I needed to join in the 2013 Banned Books Challenge she is hosting this year.

Anyone who works with me or reads this blog or knows me personally knows that me and banned books are BFFs.  It all started the first time I read Judy Blume's Forever.  It became a passion when I started reading Ellen Hopkins.  That passion become an obsession when I started teaching a banned books themed composition course at my college.  So. Much. Fun.

I've read a lot of banned books, but unfortunately, the list is long, so there are lots of interesting books that I haven't had a chance to read yet.  Christine's laid back challenge is going to help me tackle those.  The rules are as follows:

DATEThe challenge will run from January 1, 2013 through the first day of Banned Books Week 2013 (still TBD) -- the rest of the week will be used to wrap-up the challenge.

RULES: The only rules are that books read for this challenge must appear on one of the ALA's lists of frequently challenged books -- there are multiple lists split up by author, year, decade, & a separate list for Banned & Challenged Classics, so there should be plenty of options to choose from.

HOW TO PARTICIPATE: Write a post, as long or short as you like, about your participation in this challenge and linking to this post. If you don't have a blog, you can leave a comment here instead. I'd love for everyone to review the books they read, but it's not required. Overlap with other challenges is totally OK. Sometime during Banned Books Week 2013 (date TBD) link-up a wrap-up post about how you did with the challenge.

Update: For each book you read for the challenge, you can also link-up your reviews here, so we can read them!

2nd Update: The dates for Banned Books Week 2013 will be September 22-28. The challenge officially ends on the first day of Banned Books Week, but you can finish linking up your reviews and/or wrap-up posts throughout the week.

Here are the levels you can choose from (and if you decide to change at any point, that's totally OK too!):

Making Waves: 5 Challenged Books
Trouble-Maker: 10 Challenged Books
Rebel: 15 Challenged Books
Insurgent: 20 Challenged Books
Leader of a Revolution: 25 Challenged Books

I'm going to use this challenge to try to read some of the books my students consistently choose for their banned book project that I haven't read yet.  That way I can give more effective instruction and feedback on their essays and have more detailed discussions with them on those books.

I'm shooting for Making Waves, but I'm hoping I'll hit Trouble Maker before the challenge is up.

To keep me honest, I've already chosen my first five books.  They are, in no particular order:
  1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
  2. A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving
  3. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  4. When Dad Killed Mom by Julius Lester
  5. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Honorable Mentions:
  1. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  2. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  4. Grendel by John Gardner
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  6. Lush by Natasha Friend
I am so pumped about this challenge.  You can join in at any time, so hop on over to Buckling Bookshelves and start reading!


  1. I'm so glad you decided to join! Enjoy your selections, I'm looking forward to the reviews :)

  2. This sounds like a great challenge! I really enjoyed One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, but there are a few on this list I haven't come across that I need to investigate (and I know The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian has been highly recommended to me before). Enjoy your books!

  3. Hi Kristin! I'm very new at hosting challenges and when I chose the image for this challenge button I chose one in the public domain, but inadvertently neglected to provide credit for the image. My new "grab this code" includes it, but I wanted to also provide the credit line to all the challenge participants who have already posted the button as well.

    photo credit: Love Of Books by George Hodan

    Sorry about that & I hope you're enjoying your reading selections!

    1. No worries - Thanks for letting me know!

  4. Hi Kristin, I've joined the banned books reading challenge, too, and wanted to say hello. Love your list and I confess not a one is on mine so it will make for a great year to share our thoughts.
    My list

    1. Hi Vikk - the list of banned books is long, so it helps to have others to converse with. Looking forward to your reviews!