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"Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media regardless of frontiers."
- Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Celebrate your freedom to read! Join us September 26th through October 3rd as we observe Banned Books Week in the library.

Two of the great hallmarks of our culture are the freedom to read and the freedom of expression. This means we are all free to choose the books we read and writers are free to express themselves through written or visual works. Throughout history, these rights have been challenged by individuals, organizations and governments.

Please join MSU Libraries as we celebrate the freedom to read and to express ideas with a week-long series on banned and/or challenged books. Members of the MSU Community will read selections from their favorite banned or challenged book between 12:15 p.m. and 12:45 p.m. each day beginning Monday, September 28 through Friday, October 2. The readings will take place in Heathcote Court.

Know your rights; speak your mind; read banned books.

Banned & Challenged Books

In 2008, 513 book challenges were reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom at the American Library Association. To see where challenges have occurred and to get information on those challenges, see the Book Bans and Challenges Map. To see books challenged in 2008, watch this video.

Banned & Challenged Books @ MSU

  • List of Banned & Challenged Books @ MSU Libraries
  • Click on a book cover for more information:
Panel 0
Panel 1
Lauren Myracle
Reasons Banned/Challenged: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
Synopsis: Told in instant message format, this novel follows the friendship of three tenth-grade girls as they experience some of the typical pitfalls of adolescence - boys, queen-bee types, a flirty teacher, beer, crazy parents, and more. Nothing is sacred while IM-ing. Angela, Zoe and Maddie have promised to stay friends no matter what drama they encounter in high school. As they begin to find their own identities away from each other they begin to struggle with keeping this promise.
Panel 2
Rudolfo Anaya
Bless Me, Ultima
Reasons Banned/Challenged: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
Synopsis: A bildungsroman about a young Mexican-American boy, Antonio, in a New Mexican village during the 1940s. He faces a choice that will determine the course of his entire life: to follow his father's family's nomadic lifestyle, or to settle down to agriculture as his mother's family has done. Anaya draws on the Spanish-American folklore with which he grew up in this unique depiction of a Hispanic childhood in the Southwest.
Panel 3
Philip Pullman
The Golden Compass
Reasons Banned/Challenged: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
Synopsis: Enter a parallel world, dark and cold, with daemons, boat-dwelling gypsies, armored bears, and a street child with a strange destiny. The heroine, Lyra, battles the Gobblers, who separate children from their souls, and follows a mystical device to a universe-altering confrontation in the Arctic. Children, even Lyra's best friend Roger, start disappearing, victims of mysterious kidnappers called Gobblers. Lyra is given a magical instrument that tells the future and is sent off with the glamorous Mrs. Coulter. When she learns that Mrs. Coulter runs the Gobblers, she escapes, touching off a race to save the kidnapped children. With the help of the Gyptians, a boat-dwelling people, and Iorek Byrnison, a talking, warrior polar bear, she travels to the Arctic, where she finds that the children are being subjected to ghastly experiments that separate them from their daemons. Meanwhile Iorek battles for control of the warrior bears, and Lyra's uncle, Lord Asriel, prepares to blast a hole between worlds.
Panel 4
J.D. Salinger
Catcher in the Rye
Reasons Banned/Challenged: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
Synopsis: J. D. Salinger's famous and enduring chronicle of Holden Caulfield's journey from innocence to experience is the quintessential coming-of-age novel. It is an unusual one, however, as the hero tries to cling to the simplicity of childhood, achieving a kind of maturity almost in spite of himself. As the novel begins, Holden runs away from his stifling prep school, which is full of "phonies" and where he has, in fact, flunked out. Holden is depressed, suffering from grief over the death of his younger brother Allie, who died of Leukemia. He is unable to connect with his peers, he has no real friends, and he fights with or critizes everyone around him. Holing up in a New York City hotel, he has a series of small adventures and missed opportunities, all of which emphasize his loneliness and alienation from the world. A visit to his younger sister Phoebe, which he memorably articulated his confused notion of being a "catcher in the rye", provides a ray of hope for Holden. The novel's final image of Phoebe riding the carousel in the park while her brother looks on, in tears, holds out the idea that there may be a future for Holden as well.
Panel 5
Khaled Hosseini
The Kite Runner
Reasons Banned/Challenged: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
Synopsis: This epic novel is set in Afghanistan, beginning in the days of the monarchy and reaching to the early 21st century. Amir is the son of a wealthy man; his best friend is Hassan, the son of his father's servant. Growing up in Kabul, the two share an idyllic childhood until a traumatic event--and Amir's act of cowardly betrayal--changes the nature of their friendship. Amir, who ends up in America, is tortured by his betrayal of Hassan, and he finds himself compelled to return, years later, to a Taliban-dominated Afghanistan to make amends. The Kite Runner, written by an Afghani--now a physician--whose family found asylum in the U.S. in 1980--personalizes the conflicts in Afghanistan and the US involvement there. A debut novel, it was hailed by critics for its poetic prose and vivid characters.

Related Links

banned book week rotating poster
For more information on banned and challenged books, go to: For information about frequently challenged books, see: