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Throughout our bookworm life, we’ve seen censorship in literature one too many. Mala-Jenny Lind ng The Greatest Showman ang reasons for discontinuing a book’s sale and distribution. Never enough, bes. It could be that the content is too violent, racially insensitive, politically biased, age-inappropriate, and more.

This week, the world is celebrating Banned Books Week. Yes, may ganitong ganap, bes. We know you’re not making any progress with your reading list, too, so why don’t we add more, ‘di ba? Here’s a list of must-read books that are or were banned in different parts of the world.

The Diary of A Young Girl by Anne Frank

This book is known for revealing the atrocities of the Holocaust through the perspective of a 13-year-old girl named Anne Frank. For two years, Frank details her life in hiding with her family and going through puberty, all while her life is falling apart. However, the book is banned at schools in Virginia in the US not because of the death of millions of Jews—yes, kasama si beshie nating si Annebut due to a short portion about sexuality. We know most of the facts and figures about this dark period in history, but only through Frank did we learn of its true impact to the victims.

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

This classic novel’s themes of teenage angst and alienation makes it a favorite among adolescent readers. #RelatableAF kasi ‘to, bes. It tells the story of a young man named Holden Caulfield in the 1950s. He is pessimistic and does not want to be an adult (look up the word phony) and he also does not want live by the rules of society. This rebellious nature of Caulfield—profanities included—stirs worry among parents and schools that it’s often in the list of banned books in the US. But it deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belong, loss, and connection. That’s still worth the read, ‘di ba?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

You may have seen the Emmy-winning Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale but this work also suffers a great deal of challenge. It focuses on a handmaid named Offred and her journey to gain individualism and independence in a dystopian, near-future New England. Offred and many others are forced into reproductive slavery to bear the children of the elite. Parang utak lang ng mga scammer, bes. Napaka-twisted, like patriarchy. Sorry not sorry, bes. Some critics found the book to be “sexually explicit” and “offensive to Christians” that a school in Texas banned it from the students’ reading list. Can we ever suppress women’s battlecry, though, even after 30 years since it first went out? We don’t think so.

Carrie by Stephen King

Nope, hindi si Carrie Bradshaw ng Sex and the City ang tinutukoy dito. It’s about Carrie White, a friendless misfit bullied in high school who uses her telekinetic powers to exact revenge on her tormentors. Very Insatiable ng Netflix, bes, except walang awrahang ganap. She brings the worst disaster to ever hit her town, Chamberlain, in the process, too. It is banned in three states in the US (Nevada, North Dakota, Iowa) because of themes of violence, underage sex, and negative view on religion. But much like The Catcher in The Rye, Carrie touches on a universal sore spot that is adolescence. Who doesn’t love that classic moment when a suffering girl with strange powers teach everyone a lesson? No one, duh.

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

As a bestselling book worldwide, you’d think Harry Potter is untouchable. Surprise, surprise! That’s not the case. The series is often challenged because of it shows the supernatural and the occult—particularly wizards and witches—in such a positive light. Others say it exposes the young to the ills of society way too early. More than the characters, however, the Harry Potter series is a story that tackles how to develop moral fortitude, courage, and friendship even in the face of adversity. Mala-“Us against the world,” bes, which sounds like a value worth teaching and learning.

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