America’s Most Wanted

Hello, readers. I stumbled across this today and thought many of you may enjoy it:

http://flavorwire.com/384799/the-most-ridiculous-claims-used-to-challenge-classic-novels

As the ALA’s Most Frequently Challenged Books List in 2012 is now up, this article decided to take a look back on the history of book challenges in US schools and libraries, exposing the ridiculous and inaccurate nature of many of the claims. Have you read any of them? If so, tell me what you think of these challenges and the reasons behind them.

Here’s the top 10 for 2012, as quoted from the ALA’s website:

“Out of 464 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence”

Surprised? See a book you’ve read? Not sure why they’re banned? Tell me about it. Remember, this is based on challenges reported to the ALA by teachers, librarians, and everyday readers like you. If your school, library, or local government is censoring, challenging, or banning literary or library materials, please contact the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

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About boundandgaggedbooks

Shannon is a freelance writer and folklore buff. She has a degree from Hampshire College in Creative Writing/Mythology & Religion, with an emphasis on epic/oral traditions, their anthropological implications, and their modern counterparts. Her work can be found in Fabulously Feminist, Wolf Wariors: The National Wolfwatcher Coalition Anthology, The Concord Monitor, Redhead Magazine, and The Climax.

4 responses to “America’s Most Wanted”

  1. Kelton Barnsley says :

    I remember reading Captain Underpants in elementary school! I think I got it at the school book fair, actually.

    • boundandgaggedbooks says :

      Was this intended to start a conversation about the gender dynamics of Captain Underpants or to justify its censorship? It’s an interesting article, but the fact that your comment contains no thoughts or prefaces leaves this a very inscrutable and one-sided conversation where I must either riddle out your intent or just not comment. Care to share your thoughts?

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