Written by on September 17, 2012

Losing my religion, Part 1 (episode 2)

This is episode 2 of 12.  Part 1.  …and yes, we are on an REM kick.

As you can see from the fact that this is a two-parter, there are a lot of the books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade that have been challenged for religious reasons, either “religious viewpoint” or “occult.”  Religion is an intensely personal, critically important experience for many of us, and there are as many interpretations of a set of beliefs as there are practitioners.  Add that to the fact that we all share public spaces with people of vastly differing beliefs, places that include libraries and schools, and you’ve got some tricky terrain to traverse. Thankfully, the United States Bill of Right guarantees us freedom of religion and freedom of speech, and that’s a prime place to start the journey.

In Episode 2, Part 1 of “Losing My Religion,” Kristen and I only covered the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  Although Harry Potter was on my half of the list and Wrinkle in Time was on hers, Kristen is a rabid diehard muggle, and tessering is on my bucket list, so we switched.

So let’s get to the heart of this episode…are you Team Harry or Team Meg???

Let us know in the comments below.  And if you want to hear all that Kennedy Library is doing to celebrate Banned Books Week, including our interactive infographic, check out Kennedy Library’s Banned Books Week hub.

–Michele Wyngard


Books we discuss:

  • Harry Potter (series) by J.K. Rowling, #1 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, #90


Honorable mentions (a.k.a. books that fit this category but we didn’t have time to discuss):

Yeah, there’s a whole other Part 2 to cover that…


To learn more about what we discussed, check out these websites:

J.K. Rowling’s official website http://www.jkrowling.com/

Madeleine L’Engle’s official website http://www.madeleinelengle.com/

Study on Harry Potter’s Impact on Kids’ Reading http://www.scholastic.com/aboutscholastic/news/press_07252006_CP.htm

American Library Association statistics on banned books http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/stats


and these ridiculously informative books:

Doyle, R.P. (2010). Banned books: Challenging our freedom to read. Chicago, IL: American Library Association.

Foerstel, H.N. (2002). Banned in the U.S.A: A reference guide to book censorship in schools and public libraries. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.


And  this is what the phrase “losing my religion” is actually in reference to. (see the 3rd paragraph up from the bottom)


This podcast series, I’m with the Banned features personal conversations between Michele and Kristen, a reflection of their year of reading and research. They, like the Kennedy Library, hope you are inspired to have your own conversations to explore ideas around these complex topics.

Read more on ALA, american library association, banned books, banned books week 2012, cal poly, freedom to read, harry potter, i'm with the banned, jk rowling, kennedy library, madeleine l'engle, podcast, and wrinkle in time.

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