Thursday, September 25, 2003

Banned Books Week

This week is "Banned Books Week" for the American Library Association. I am usually not all that interested "this week" or "that month" but Banned Books Week is one of the few worthwhile endeavors along this line. Every year there are hundreds of challenges of books in our schools, libraries and bookstores. In an age where literacy is in decline and one would think we'd be happy to get children to read anything, there are those who are so terrified of ideas that they are willing to extinguish the First Amendment.

The Top 10 Most Challenged Books for 2002
(and the reasons cited for challenging them)

Books that come under fire most often are extremely popular (Harry Potter, Captain Underpants), are stocked in the library or are assigned school reading (Bridge to Terabithia, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn)

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (news - web sites) (wizardry and magic).

2. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group. "Unsuited to age group" usually means a younger child has access to a book in a library meant for older children.)

3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier, which was also the Most Challenged Book of 1998 (offensive language, unsuited to the age group).

4. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou (sexual content, racism, offensive language, violence, unsuited to age group).

5. Taming the Star Runner by S.E. Hinton (offensive language).

6. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey (insensitivity, unsuited to age group, encourages children to disobey authority).

7. Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain (racism, insensitivity, offensive language).

8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (offensive language, sexual content, occult, satanism).

9. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (insensitivity, racism and offensive language).

10. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (sexual content, offensive
language, violence, unsuited to age group).


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