For many of us, our reading habits do not change during Banned Books Week (ala.org). Our libraries are the oft maligned stacks of inappropriate, if not all-out-dangerous, reading material. Nonetheless, this week is a good time to be intentional and connected and educated at a community level.
I hope you’ve a book or three to celebrate, an author or five to encourage, and a local library or ten to support.
Here are 2014’s Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged books:
The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. We compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The top ten most frequently challenged books of 2014 include:
1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2) Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6) Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9) A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10) Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit
I’m actually going to use this time to catch up on Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey; a series that has inspired many non- and reluctant-readers to begin and continue their more literate adventures; a series that has yet to fail to horrify a number of our populace.
And do I need an excuse to revisit the genius that is Saga by Brian K Vaughan & Fiona Staples?! and seriously?! “Anti-family”….?!
As for Drama by Raina Telgemeier: Read “sexually explicit” as having gay characters in a book read by grade-schoolers (and I’m not the only one to translate the accusation, CBLDF article on Drama). Which brings me to another link aside from the American Library Association’s, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund (CBLDF) as a great resource. This year’s Banned Books Week is taking an emphasis on the censorship of comics/graphic novels, not only due to content, but the form and culture itself.