2016 Banned Books Art Contest

Pine Creek High School Library Learning Commons


Banned Books Week 2016.JPG

To celebrate Banned Books Week 2016 (September 25-October 1), the Pine Creek Library Learning Commons held an art contest modeled, with permission, after the one conducted at the Chapel Hill Public Library in North Carolina. The contest invited students to submit 2D original pieces of art inspired by banned or challenged books or authors. 

Winning entries were made into trading cards that contained the student's artwork on the front along with information about the book, reasons people have tried to ban it throughout history, and the artist's statement on the back. 

A new piece of original student art was revealed each day throughout the week. Honorable mentions along with winning entries can be found below!

Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

Invisible Man depicted by Logan Bliss.jpg

Artist: Logan Bliss

Artist’s Statement: 
“This piece provides depiction of the novel as well as the symbolism of the silhouette. This imagery shows the prejudice as well as ignorance towards members of the African American community, especially in the 1930s, the time period when the book is set.”

Reason for Banning:  
Ellison’s book won the 1953 National Book Award for Fiction because it expertly dealt with issues of black nationalism, Marxism and identity in the twentieth century. Considered to be too expert in its ruminations for some high schools, the book was banned from high school reading lists and schools in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Washington state; Retained in the Yakima, WA schools (1994) after a five-month dispute over what advanced high school students should read in the classroom. Two parents raised concerns about profanity and images of violence and sexuality in the book and requested that it be removed from the reading list.  

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter depicted by Lauryn Farwell.jpg
Artist: Lauryn Farwell

Artist’s Statement: 
“This piece reflects the Harry Potter books by incorporating one recurring symbol throughout the series, Harry’s patronus. We see this as a symbol of love from his mother, Lily. My piece represents the love, beauty and bravery of the series.”

Reason(s) for Banning:  
Anti-family, Satanism, religious viewpoint, violence; The Gwinnett County (GA) school board rejected a parent's pleas to take Harry Potter books out of school libraries based on the claim they promote witchcraft (2007); Proposed for removal by teacher's prayer group at Russell Springs (KY) high school for dealing with ghosts, cults, and witchcraft (2003); challenged in Moscow (Russia) by a Slavic cultural organization that alleged the stories about magic and wizards could draw students into Satanism; Challenged for encouraging lying, cheating, stealing and witchcraft. Burned in NM as "a masterpiece of satanic deception" (2002). 

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

One Flew.jpg
Artist:  Logan Bliss

Artist’s Statement: 
“This piece depicts an icon of mental institutions, despite not all mental illness being violent. The simplicity and minimalism represent that of a mental hospital.”

Reason for Banning:  
In 1974, five residents of Strongsville, OH, sued the board of education to remove the novel. Labeling it "pornographic," they charged the novel "glorifies criminal activity, has a tendency to corrupt juveniles and contains descriptions of bestiality, bizarre violence, and torture, dismemberment, death, and human elimination;" Challenged at the Placentia-Yorba Linda, CA Unified School District (2000) after complaints by parents stated that teachers "can choose the best books, but they keep choosing this garbage over and over again."



Perks of Being a Wallflower by Ken Kesey

The Perks of Being a Wallflower - artwork.jpg

Artist:  Myah Taylor

Artist’s Statement: 
“Friendship is a theme in this novel and the friends of the novel’s protagonist, Charlie, get him through tough times. Charlie is a writer who addresses the reader as a friend, creating an intimate reading experience. I wanted my piece to reflect this.”

Reason for Banning: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group (2013);  Anti-family, drugs, homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited to age group (2009) 



Animal Farm by George Orwell


Animal Farm - artwork.jpg
Artist: Logan Bliss

Artist's Statement: "The representation of the pig in a suit depicts how the character in the book bastardized the communist principle that, 'All animals are equal,' similar to the course of events such as those in the Russian Revolution."

Reason for Banning: Identified in 1968 as being a "problem book" in New York State's English classrooms; the reason cited: "Orwell was a communist." Banned in Kenya in 1991 because it "criticizes corrupt leaders who abuse political power." Banned in 2002 from schools in the United Arab Emirates because it contains written or illustrated material that contradicts Islamic and Arab values—in this text, pictures of alcoholic drinks, pigs, and other "indecent images." 






To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee


To Kill a Mockingbird, art by Jacob Watters.jpgArtist: Jacob Watters

Artist's Statement: "Banning a Book that carries such a vast historical weight is equivalent to killing a part of ourselves to create a facade of perfeciton. This is represented by the dead mockingbird held in the hands. Killing an innocent, peaceful mockingbird is as irresponsible as killing part of our history."

Reason for Banning: Challenged at a middle school in Brentwood, TN (2006) because the book contains "profanity" and because its use of racial slurs promotes "racial hatred, racial division, racial separation, and promotes white supremacy;" Removed (2009) from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton Ontario, Canada becacuase a parent objected to language used int he novel, including the word "nigger."