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