Banned Books Week


Banned Books Week highlights that whilst we enjoy reasonable freedom to choose what we read here in New Zealand, there are people who will challenge and attempt to prevent or restrict schools and libraries from making books available in other parts of the world, including America.

Fair enough you may say, and in New Zealand, the Office of Film and Literature Classification manages the censorship of books, magazines, films, video games, and a variety of other media. They have guidelines about what can be banned or restricted, and for what reasons. However you may be surprised by the type of books that are being challenged in America, for example Captain Underpants continues in the number one spot for the second year in a row.

Top ten most challenged/banned books for 2013/14

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith

This year Banned books Week seeks to bring attention to the genre of graphic novels in particular, as they receive many challenges. Comics, manga and graphic novels are strongly visual and can be good for reluctant readers, English learners, anyone really, who enjoys visual literacy. Indeed this year featuring at tenth place on the list is Bone a graphic novel by Jeff Smith, which is available here in the Library. Here Smith talks about Bone making tenth place on the list of banned books.

CPIT library has put together a display of books that are either currently banned or restricted somewhere in the world, or that have been banned in the past. Come and have a look this week, and see what you think. Whilst putting your mind to the matter of censorship you might like to take a look at some of these graphic novels that have been challenged in various states around America. No time to stop by the Library…no problem you can download challenged and banned book Little Brother by Cory Doctorow here.



I can read speech bubbles!

Graphic Novels have never really been my thing. I read Tintin and Asterix when I was a kid (still do, on occasion), but that was about it. I’ve always liked the idea of being able to create my owm images when reading, that people and places could look however I wanted them to. And, I admit, the speech bubble thing really put me off – I could never get them in the right order.


This week, however, a book arrived at the library that just might change my mind – the first Girl Genius omnibus, featuring Agatha Clay (well, that’s her name now…), a budding inventor whose machines just don’t work. Throw in a despotic ruler, some monsters, a castle that’s really an airship – what more could you want? (except maybe the second omnibus)

You can reserve our copy here – it’s new, it’ll be on the shelf soon. Or, as I discovered with some glee, all the comics are available online as daily instalments.

We have quite a collection of graphic novels in the library, including:

photographer The photographer

persepolis Persepolis

And many more, upstairs in the library at shelf location PN6727 and PN6747.

We also have a growing collection of Māori language graphic novels, shelved downstairs in the Māori and Pasifika Collection at PN6790.N5

If you’d like to try your hand at writing your own graphic novel, we can help:

Writing Writing and illustrating the graphic novel

comic Comic book design

Graphic Novels at CPIT Library

Graphic novels are equally known for their plots as they are for their artwork. The CPIT Library has recently purchased a few new anthologies and books to showcase some of the varied styles found in this unique genre where images tell just as much (and sometimes more) of the story as the words do.

 But, where to start?

Your first stop might want to be An Anthology of Graphic Fiction, Cartoons & True Stories, edited by Ivan Brunetti.  It was voted “Outstanding” by the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) in 2007 and the collection covers over seventy-five artists including some well-known names like Robert Crumb, Art Spiegelman, Chris Ware, Charles Burnes, Daniel Clowes, Lynda Barry and Jaime and Gilbert Hernandez. Brunetti has also selected a few ‘classic’ comics like Peanuts and Krazy Kat to round out this broad overview of the genre.
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