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Banned Books Week Selection: The Lord of the Rings

headshot of Darren Poley

“Banning The Lord of the Rings makes no sense at all. The works of J.R.R. Tolkien are woven so densely that the underlying Christian sensibility of them is a nearly imperceptible part of the fabric, but that hardly means they should be denounced as Satanic. In fact, some of the greatest works by some of the greatest minds including Augustine struggle with the invisible hand of God and the human discernment of free will in concert with a limited understanding of divine foreknowledge.

“I submit that divine Providence is a major character of The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, because and not in spite of the fact that there is no religion in it at all, and anyone who takes a grossly un-intellectual approach to it should brush up on what C. S. Lewis called transferred classicism.”Darren G. Poley, Associate Director of Research Services and Scholarly Engagement, Theology, Humanities and Classical Studies Librarian on his must-read selection for Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week: And Tango Makes Three

headshot of Deborah Bishov

“I recommend And Tango Makes Three. It’s a sweet book, based on true events, about two male penguins who hatch an egg and raise a chick together. Everyone should read it because penguins will make you happy. On a more serious note, children’s books with LGBTQ+ characters and themes disproportionately end up on these banned books lists. Professor Rachel Skrlac Lo in the Department of Education & Counseling, some of whose research looks at the representation of families in children’s literature, has written about the idea of epistemic justice– that not only is it important for children to see their own families represented in the books they read– but that having their classmates and communities be familiar with and welcoming of different family configurations means that they have equitable access to learning and social environments and experiences. See, for example,: Lo, R. S. (2016). On listening to children: Family variation in an after-school reading club. Language Arts, 94(2), 147.  Bonus penguin content:“—Deborah Bishov, Subject Librarian for Communication, Education & Counseling, and Russian Studies, on her must read selection for Banned Books Week



Banned Books Everyone Should Read: To Kill a Mockingbird

In honor of the American Library Association’s annual Banned Books Week, which condemns censorship and urges free access to information, we asked Falvey librarians and staff to pick a book from the list of the most frequently banned and challenged books and tell us why it’s a must read.

Robert LeBlanc reads To Kill a Mockingbird

“It is a brilliant book that, even though it is problematic because of the white perspective of the narrator, is indicative of the inherent racial disparity in the American justice system and a still relevant lesson in civics.” —Robert LeBlanc, First Year Experience & Humanities Librarian


Shawn Proctor Head shot

Shawn Proctor, MFA, is Communication and Marketing Program Manager at Falvey Memorial Library. One of his favorite banned books is The Hate U Give.



Last Modified: September 23, 2019