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Put Out the Fires! Banned Books Week 2009

Posted on September 27, 2009 by Monica Valentinelli

Here at, even though we usually enjoy reading about the fires of hell or burning zombies, there’s one thing we don’t like reading about — lighting books on fire. From September 26th through October 3rd 2009, the American Library Association (ALA) is featuring Banned Books Week, which celebrates the Freedom to Read within the United States.

Instead of lighting a candle to commemorate this year’s holiday, recommends either buying or checking out some of these fine books that have been banned for one reason or another. Remember, this is only a small sampling of the 513 books that were challenged in 2008 within the United States. Here is a PDF download of the books challenged in 2007/2008 from the ALA.

This year, the ALA offered a download of the Banned Books Week manifesto in PDF, which was written by Ellen Hopkins. It ended with, “A word to the Unwise. Torch every book. Char every page. Burn every word to ash. Ideas are incombustible. Therein lies your real fear.”

For more information about Banned Books Week, be sure to visit your local library for events and other news. UPDATE: Please note that the link to the Banned Books Manifesto PDF download resulted in a 404 error, so we removed it.

Selection of Books that have been Challenged or Banned in the U.S.

This list of books is a small selection of titles that have been challenged or banned in the U.S. This list is by no means comprehensive, nor will it ever be up-to-date. Merely, this list is meant to provide you with an idea of the books challenged within the horror genre. As we mentioned above, be sure to check with your local library for more information about Banned Books Week and see how you can help.

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
Carrie by Stephen King
Christine by Stephen King
Cujo by Stephen King
Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen
Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
Night Chills by Dean Koontz
The Devil’s Alternative by Frederick Forsyth
The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty
The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Snyder
The Shining by Stephen King
The Witches by Roald Dahl
The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Snyder
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff
Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

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7 Responses to “Put Out the Fires! Banned Books Week 2009”

  1. Spikey says:

    the manifesto link appears to be broken. 🙁

  2. Admin says:

    The link was working when we originally wrote the post; thanks for letting us know so we could update our information.


  3. Dan Kleinman says:

    These resources may also be of interest:

    American Library Association Shamed,” by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007.

    Finding Censorship Where There Is None,” by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009, p.W13.

    National Hogwash Week.”

    US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books,” by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009.

  4. Syrsuro says:

    Your facts are in error.

    There are books that people try to ban. However, the list you give is actually from an anti-Palin hoax email (although I personally find her politics abominable, one has to recognize propoganda when one sees it) and it is worth noting that many of the books you list are, specifically, NOT on the list you reference.

    So yes – there is something to be upset about. But by spreading inaccurate information I personally feel you do the cause itself a disservice.


  5. Monica says:


    I can assure you that I did not take this list of books from a Palin email or a random rumor, but from several sources when I researched the post.

    The point of this article was to highlight the Banned Books week. Thank you for your opinion; I’ve updated a line underneath the book listing to make it more clear that the list of books is not “just” from this past year. The PDF attached to this post from the ALA highlights some of the books in the list, including the Harry Potter and the His Dark Materials trilogy.



  6. Syrsuro says:


    As I said – I am well aware that book banning is a serious threat to the first amendment rights in this country. I just find that specific list to be less credible than, for example, the ALA list you linked to.

    So, out of curiosity, what is the source of the information that ‘someone’ wanted to ban Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary (since you indicate that it was not the Sarah Palin email)?

    What library, when and for what reason?


  7. Monica says:

    Hi folks,

    I didn’t post a link before, because banning dictionaries happens so randomly and for such odd reasons that I couldn’t find a link at the time.

    Here’s a recent case of where school officials are banning a dictionary based on a parent’s complaint:

    Please note, I’m not providing any “commentary” about the ban. This is just another oddball example that it does happen.

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