Sarah Palin's Book Ban List

Commentary by Tim Horrigan; September 5, 2008

Extra! [Oct. 15, 2008]: When Sarah Palin came to Dover, NH on October 15, 2008, I attempted to promote my novel The Forgotten Liars by handing out flyers urging her to ban it.

You can download the flyer in PDF format from:

The flyer urged its readers to visit this URL:

I also urge everyone to visit my 2008 election pages:

Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin has taken a controversial stand in favor of Freedom, and she looks like a librarian— and yet she is notorious for pressuring her city library to ban a large number of books from the library, during her executive experience as Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska. Whatever Freedom means to her, it does not include freedom with a small "f" of thought.

Someone named Andrew AuCoin put together the following list, which was posted in various places including the blog The provenance of the list is uncertain and Palin's apologists have been nitpicking it. Much was made of the fact that this book includes books written as recently as 2000 while Palin's executive experience began way back in 1996, in the last century. However, her executive experience as Mayor of Wasilla ran until 2002, and it is possible that she had a list of books she wanted banned in 1996, which she added to over the coming years. The claim that she totally dropped this issue after 1996 is hard to swallow: Palin is after all a "pit bull with lipstick" who is not a flipflopper and who would rather lose an election than lose a war (any war, even a cultural war.)

Palin is notorious for being in favor of the notorious Bridge to Nowhere before she was against it. On the other hand, she was always in favor of banning books from the Wasilla Public Library. Happily, she was unsuccessful in getting the books banned: one of the reasons she failed was because libraries, like most local public services in Alaska, are actually provided at the Borough (county) level.

AuCoin said "This is the list of books Palin tried to have banned. As many of you will notice it is a hit parade for book burners." AuCoin's list had 90 entries, but Huckleberry Finn was counted twice.

Even though I am busy with my own 2008 State Representative campaign, I have taken the time to put together links to each of the 89 books.

[Sept. 11, 2008: the provenance of the list is no longer uncertain. A page on the website of a "book packaging" called Adler & Robin Books has the exact same list. Adler & Robin's web page— whose URL is:— is dated September 2004 and is identical to AuCoin's list, right down to the errors of including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn twice and the misspelling of "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban" as "Harry Potter and the Prizoner of Azkaban. Also, the current Mayor Of Wasilla, Dianne M. Keller— the woman who presumably is on her way to becoming the second female Vice President of the United States— issued a press release on September 9 stating that no books have ever been banned from the library. Keller claims that only one book was challenged during Sarah Palin's executive experience— Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman— but it was not removed from the shelves. The press release doesn't say who challenged it.]

Anyway, here is the list:

  1. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

  2. A Separate Peace by John Knowles

  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

  4. Annie on My Mind by Nancy Garden

  5. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner

  6. Blubber by Judy Blume

  7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

  8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

  9. Canterbury Tales by Chaucer

  10. Carrie by Stephen King

  11. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller

  12. Christine by Stephen King

  13. Confessions by Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  14. Cujo by Stephen King

  15. Curses, Hexes, and Spells by Daniel Cohen

  16. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

  17. Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Peck

  18. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller

  19. Decameron by Boccaccio

  20. East of Eden by John Steinbeck

  21. Fallen Angels by Walter Myers

  22. Fanny Hill (Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure) by John Cleland

  23. Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keyes

  24. Forever by Judy Blume

  25. Grendel by John Champlin Gardner

  26. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

  27. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling

  28. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

  29. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

  30. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

  31. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

  32. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

  33. I Have to Go! by Robert Munsch

  34. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

  35. Impressions edited by Jack Booth

  36. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

  37. It's Okay if You Don't Love Me by Norma Klein

  38. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

  39. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D.H. Lawrence

  40. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

  41. Little Red Riding Hood by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm

  42. Lord of the Flies by William Golding

  43. Love Is One of the Choices by Norma Klein

  44. Lysistrata by Aristophanes

  45. More Scary Stories To Tell In The Dark by Alvin Schwartz

  46. My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

  47. My House by Nikki Giovanni

  48. My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara

  49. Night Chills by Dean Koontz

  50. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

  51. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

  52. One Day in The Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

  53. One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey

  54. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

  55. Ordinary People by Judith Guest

  56. Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Woman's Health Collective

  57. Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy

  58. Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl

  59. Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones by Alvin Schwartz

  60. Scary Stories in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

  61. Silas Marner by George Eliot

  62. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

  63. Tarzan of the Apes by Edgar Rice Burroughs

  64. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

  65. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

  66. The Bastard by John Jakes

  67. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

  68. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

  69. The Color Purple by Alice Walker

  70. The Devil's Alternative by Frederick Forsyth

  71. The Figure in the Shadows by John Bellairs

  72. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck

  73. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

  74. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

  75. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

  76. The Learning Tree by Gordon Parks

  77. The Living Bible by William C. Bower

  78. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare

  79. The New Teenage Body Book by Kathy McCoy and Charles Wibbelsman

  80. The Pigman by Paul Zindel

  81. The Seduction of Peter S. by Peter Sanders

  82. The Shining by Stephen King

  83. The Witches by Roald Dahl

  84. The Witches of Worm by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

  85. Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume

  86. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

  87. Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare

  88. Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary by the Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff

  89. Witches, Pumpkins, and Grinning Ghosts: The Story of the Halloween Symbols by Edna Barth

See Also:

Sarah Palin with members of the late
            Shirley Dementieff's family; August 9, 2008
Gov. Sarah Palin dedicating a bridge to somewhere (Nenana, AK), August 9, 2008.