In honor of Banned Books Week, I have put together a list of books that illustrate what it is like to live under censorship and oppression. Sometimes it is hard for patrons and parents to understand why librarians are so hesitant to remove “offensive” books from the collection. These books demonstrate the importance of intellectual freedom and what life can be like when you lose it. Some of these books, like Fahrenheit 451, are blatantly about censorship. Others like, The Handmaid's Tale, are about oppression in general with censorship being one of the tools used by the oppressors.
1984 by George Orwell – Dystopian book about the power of propaganda and government-controlled access to information.
Book Thief by Markus Zusak – Stealing and sharing books in Nazi Germany.
Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – Hiding in an attic as the book burning Nazis hunt for her and her family.
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury – Dystopian novel where books are outlawed and burned, reading is considered to be dangerous.
Giver by Lois Lowry – Utopian society where people are only allowed access to “good” information and kept from the hard, ugly truths of reality.
Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood – Fertile women are enslaved to produce children, reading is prohibited.
I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai – Malala was 15 years old when she was shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding education for girls and women.
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi – An illegal secret book club, reading banned books like, Pride and Prejudice and The Great Gatsby.
Romantic Outlaws by Charlotte Gordon – Biography of Mary Shelly and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft and their struggle for equal rights and education for women.
Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini – Two women trapped with an abusive husband by the oppressive laws of the Taliban. Women are specifically banned from education.
V for Vendetta by Alan Moore – Graphic Novel about life under a totalitarian government.
Let’s Collaborate! What other titles belong on this list? Comment below: