Books challenged the most in 2013

Each year ALA releases a list of the books that receive the most challenges for the previous year. You can see the backlog here. The top 10 for 2013 are listed below with an explanation of what made them challenged.  Captain Underpants seems to always be on the list near the top so no surprises there. I was surprised by the “Bone” series making the top 10 this year.

While I have not personally had to deal with challenges, I have had to deal with age appropriate items when I worked at the schools. My previous job was at a Kindergarten through 4th grade building. Our library collection had been purchased as a starter kit. While it is easier to get books on the shelves with this method, it did lead to lots of weeding for age appropriate materials. There were many books that would be great for Junior High or High School readers but not great for Elementary students. Whatever was pulled was sent to another library in the district where those materials would be used. It could be viewed as censorship however, we saw it as getting books into the right readers hands.

That being said, I am curious as to what you all might think of our choices. Was this censorship?  I am thinking of exploring this topic a bit more in a future post depending on the response.

Here are the top 10 challenged books for 2013- (List taken from Christian Science Monitor and ALA)

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

9. Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

50 books I have loved

Recently I participated in an email swap that required me to send a list of 50 books I thought one should read before they die.  Picking 50 great books was very much a challenge. My list turned out to be more of a list of books that I have enjoyed or have made a difference in my life. A few challenged my thinking, some made me cry, some were just silly fun and others are just plain wonderful. I know that even in a month this list would change as I continue to read good books. Since I read mostly from the children/teen collections many of my choices are in that age range. There is even a graphic novel and a picture book in the mix. I am still waiting to see what my exchange partners think, but I am hopeful that they will find one on the list to agree with me on. Here is what I chose (they are in random order):

1. Lord of the rings- by JRR Tolkien

2. The Hobbit- by JRR Tolkien

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s stone- JK Rowling (This is the first book and the best in my opinion)
4. Little Women- by Louisa May Alcott
5. Persuasion- by Jane Austen
6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain
7. The Diary of a young girl- Anne Frank
8. The Book Thief- by Markus Zusack
9. Anne of Green Gables – by LM Montgomery
10. The Odyssey- by Homer
11. Call of the Wild- by Jack London
12. A Christmas Carol –  by Charles Dickenson
13. Treasure Island- by Robert Lewis Stevenson
14. To Kill a Mockingbird- by Harper Lee
15. Hunger Games- by Suzanne Collins
16. The Guernsey  Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society- by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
17. The Help- by  Katheryn Stockett
18. Night- by Elie Wiesel
19. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes-by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
20. Princess Academy- by Shannon Hale
21. Old Yeller-  by Fred Gipson
22. Rangers Apprentice- by John Flanagan
23. Song of the Sparrow- by Lisa Ann Sandell
24. Tuesdays with Morrie- Mitch Alblom
25. The Fault in our stars- by John Green
26. Where the Red Fern Grows- by Wilson Rawls
27. Marley and Me- by John Grogan
28. The Joy Luck club- by Amy Tan
29. Flowers of Algernon- by Daniel Keys
30. Where the mountain meets the moon- by Grace Lin
31. One Thousand and one nights (Arabian Nights) – by Richard Burton (Translator), A.S. Byatt (Introduction)
32. The invention of Hugo Cabret (mostly for the unique way the story is told)- by  Brian Selznick
33. The Stuff of Legend, Book 1: The Dark- by  Mike Raicht, Brian Smith, Charles Paul Wilson III (Graphic Novel- The illustrations are wonderful)
34. Ella Enchanted- by Gail Carson Levine
35. Witch Child – by Celia Rees
36. Code Name Verity- by Elizabeth Wein
37. If I stay- by Gayle Forman
38. Scarlet- by AC Gaugen
39. The tenth gift- by Jane Johnson
40. The last song- by Eva Wiseman
41. Bridge to Terabithia- by Katerine Paterson
42. Little House on the Prairie- by Laura Ingles Wilder
43. The Chronicles of Narnia- by CS Lewis
44. Mark of the lion – by Francine Rivers
45. The Fantastic Flying books of Mr. Morris Lessmore – by William Joyce
46. A little princess- by Francis Hodgson Burnett
47. Secret garden- by Francis Hodgson Burnett
48. Charlotte’s web- by EB White
49. Are you there God? It’s me, Margaret- by Judy Blume
50. Moon over Manifest- by Clare Vanderpool
Any you agree or disagree on? What would your list look like?
~VEB