Carnegie Mellon University
September 20, 2019

Department of English Puts Spotlight on Banned Books

Earlier this month a Catholic school in Nashville removed the popular Harry Potter series from its shelves, claiming that the magic spells in the book could be used to conjure spirits in the real world. This is exactly the kind of restriction on reading that librarians and humanists across the country seek to draw attention to during Banned Books Week, which begins Sept. 22.

"Every year the American Library Association tracks the number of challenges that come into school and public libraries and school curriculum," said Kathy Newman, a professor of English and literary cultural studies at Carnegie Mellon University. "Around 300-500 books are challenged annually."

The 2018 list includes books such as "The Hate U Give," by Angie Thomas; the "Captain Underpants" written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey; and "A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo," by Jill Twiss. Many classics also have been banned, such as "Frankenstein," "A Catcher in the Rye," "To Kill a Mockingbird," "A Wrinkle in Time" and "Huckleberry Finn."

Read more about Banned Books