Exercise the Freedom to Read

The Right to Read

Interestingly, the freedom to read has not always been seen as a freedom. Citing the freedom to read as a part of our Constitution’s First Amendment, the American Library Association hosts a Banned Books Week every year to celebrate the freedom to read. As they write on their website, “Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community – librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers and readers of all types – in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.”

Here is a list from The American Library Association of the top 20 American novels that have been challenged. Have you read any of them? 

  1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
  3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
  7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
  9. 1984, by George Orwell
  10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
  11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  15. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  16. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
  17. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
  18. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
  19. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
  20. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

To learn more about frequently challenged books, visit
www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks.


Download our Jan/Feb edition of Learning Ahead: Cultural Itinerary for Western Massachusetts for embedded learning opportunities found in cultural resources that exist within the geography, history, and cultural traditions of Western Massachusetts.

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