Written by on September 17, 2012

Losing my religion, Part 2 (episode 2)

This is episode 2 of 12.  Part 2.

In Episode 2, Part 2 of “Losing My Religion,” Kristen and I continue our conversation about books on ALA’s Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade that have been banned or challenged for religious reasons.  Here’s a plug for one book that I didn’t talk about that I absolutely loved- The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende.

Be forewarned, the book is challenged for religious reasons including occult, and sexually explicit passages.  The book spans four generations of women, exploring their families and relationships, with the backdrop of political and social upheaval in post-colonial Chile.  It is a beautiful representative of magical realism in the Latin American tradition.  I highly recommend it!

For reviews on some of the books we’ve read, go to Kennedy Library’s Goodreads page, and for everything else Banned Books Week at Kennedy Library, go to our Banned Books Week hub.

–Michele Wyngard

Books we discuss:

  • His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman, #8 on the Top 100 Banned and Challenged Books of the last decade
  • Goosebumps (series) by R.L. Stine, #94
  • Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya, #32


Honorable mentions (a.k.a. books that were challenged for Religious Viewpoint or Occult but we didn’t have time to discuss):

  • Scary Stories by Alvin Schwartz, #7
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, #28
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, #52
  • A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck, #80
  • Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher, #85
  • The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, #88
  • Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard, #93
  • Grendel by John Gardner, #96
  • The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende, #97
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, #99  (this one was the biggest surprise for me)


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

Interviews with Philip Pullman

Arizona and HB 2281 (full text of HB 2281), see this article from the LA Time and this article from The New York Times Student Journalism Institute

SaveEthnicStudies.org, a group fighting HB2281


and these fascinating folios:

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, i'm with the banned, kennedy library, and podcast.

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