Written by on September 17, 2012

War…what is it good for? (episode 10)

This episode 10 of 12.

In Episode 10 “War…What is It Good For?” Kristen and I talk about books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of 2000-2009 that have to do with war.While I didn’t revel in tea parties and lacy dresses as a little girl, I also didn’t dive into war stories and shoot-em-up games.  So when I saw that my half of the list had the majority of the war books, I was less than thrilled.  Then it dawned on me: the US has been involved in either outright war or “interventions” almost continuously since I was born (El Salvador, Persian Gulf, invasion of Panama, Somalia, Bosnia, Afghanistan, Iraq, just to name a few), so this is something I need to give my attention to.  These books are challenged for violence, for giving readers a negative view of life (yes, that’s a real reason), and for political viewpoints.  I encourage you to explore the banned and challenged books listed below.

For everything else Banned Books Week at the Kennedy Library, check out our Banned Books Week hub.
–Michele Wyngard

Books we discuss:

  • My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier, #27 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade
  • The Fighting Ground by Avi, #42
  • The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien, #65
  • Always Running by Luis Rodriguez, #68

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

  • Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers, #11
  • Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson, #33
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, #46
  • Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green, #55
  • The Terrorist by Caroline B. Cooney, #63
  • The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss, #79
  • So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Watkins, #84

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

If you live in Connecticut, do this historical tour based on My Brother Sam is Dead!

Avi’s official web site

NPR story on the 20th anniversary of The Things They Carried

Video interviews with Luis Rodriguez

and these principal publications:

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.

Karolides, N.J. (2005). 120 banned books: Censorship histories of world literature. New York, NY: Checkmark Books/Facts on File.


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, avi, banned books, banned books week 2012, cal poly, freedom to read, i'm with the banned, james lincoln collier, kennedy library, luis rodriguez, my brother sam is dead, podcast, the fighting ground, the things they carried, tim o'brien, and war.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.