It turns out that many American parents, while commendably having figured out how to get pregnant and drop multiple whelps, much like cockroaches, boll weevils, and salamanders, may have trouble employing their brains (main organ of the nervous system, at the top of the spine).
One might doubt their membership in humankind.
We're supposed to be a sentient species.
Some, however, disprove that.
Rather than encouraging their nasty little slope-browed inbreds to read and expand their minds, some of them would far rather get their panties in a twist and attempt to ban books.
Here are the top ten books that parents (and others) tried to get burned last year:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
What some adults would rather their little brats read is happy wholesome stories about handsome highschool football players pounding slutty blonde bubbleheaded cheerleaders just like mom and dad, than anything that does not reflect their own social environment and limited worldview.
Nothing challenging, and preferably Jesus-themed.
And NO gay penguins!
We must ban zoos.
THE AMERICAN LIBRARY ASSOCIATION
Numerous books were found unsuitable by parents, administrators, political hacks, and frenzied neurotics with puritanical tendencies, in recent years.
Lifted from a PDF (sourced below), here's a list of stuff that offended the above mentioned trolls (et autres) in 2013-2014:
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
THORNDIKE PRESS; LITTLE, BROWN
Removed as required reading in a Queens, N.Y. middle school (2013) because the book included excerpts on masturbation.
The book, which tells the story of a Native American who transfers into an all-white high school, won the 2007 National Book Foundation award for Young People’s Literature. Challenged on the tenth-grade required reading list at Skyview High School in Billings, Mt. (2013) because “[t]his book is, shockingly, written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people and does it from the crude, obscene, and unfiltered viewpoint of a ninth-grader growing up on the reservation.” Pulled from the Jefferson County, W.V. schools (2013) because a parent complained about the novel’s graphic nature. Challenged in a Sweet Home, Oreg. Junior High English
class (2014) because of concerns about its content, particularly what some parents see as the objectification of women and young girls, and the way alternative lessons were developed and presented. Parents of the eighth-graders in the language arts classes received information summarizing the novel’s most controversial issues before the unit started and had the option of asking for an alternative assignment.
The House of the Spirits
DIAL PRESS TRADE PAPERBACK
Challenged in the Watauga County, N.C. High School (2013) curriculum because of the book’s graphic nature. After a
five-month process, the book was fully retained at a third and final appeal hearing. Published in 1982, the bestseller was critically acclaimed and catapulted Allende to literary stardom. The novel was named Best Novel of the Year in Chile in 1982, and Allende received the country’s Panorama Literario award. It has been translated into over thirty-seven languages.
Bless Me, Ultima
Retained in the Teton High School sophomore English class in Driggs, Idaho (2013) despite concerns about the novel’s mature content. Anaya’s best-known work, it was awarded the prestigious Premio Quinto Sol. President George W. Bush awarded Anaya the National Medal of Arts in 2002. In 2008, it was one of twelve classic American novels selected for The Big Read, a community-reading program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts, and in 2009, it was in the list of the United States Academic Decathlon.
The Handmaid’s Tale
MCCLELLAND AND STEWART
Challenged, but retained as required reading for a Page High School International Baccalaureate class and as optional reading for Advanced Placement reading courses at Grimsley High School in Guilford County, N.C. (2012) because
the book was “sexually explicit, violently graphic and morally corrupt.” Some parents thought the book is “detrimental to Christian values.” The novel won the 1985 Governor General’s Award in Canada and the first Arthur C. Clarke Award in 1987; it was also nominated for the 1986 Nebula Award, the 1986 Booker Prize, and the 1987 Prometheus Award. It has been adapted for the cinema, radio, opera, and stage.
NOVELLA PUBLISHED IN DRUZHBA NARODOV (FRIENDSHIP OF THE PEOPLES)
Burned (2013) at various locations around Azerbaijan. The novella is sympathetic to Armenians and recounts Azeri atrocities in the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia twenty years ago. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev stripped the author of his title of “People’s Writer” and the pension that goes with it. A pro-government political party in Baku, Azerbaijan, announced that it would pay $12,700 to anyone who cuts off the ear of the 75-year-old novelist for portraying Azerbaijanis as savages.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Removed from eighth-grade classrooms at Hadley Junior High School in Glen Ellyn, Ill. (2013) because of concerns about
sexually explicit content and language. In June, the Glen Ellyn Elementary District 41 School Board overturned the decision and returned the book to the library shelves. Most board members were willing to reinstate the book after assurances from district administrators that a revised parental notification letter would be sent at the start of each school year warning parents that their children could be getting access to sometimes mature content in classroom libraries. Published in 1999, the coming-of-age tale is about an introspective fifteen-year-old high school freshman who writes letters to an anonymous friend. Intelligent beyond his years, he is an unconventional thinker; yet, as the story begins, Charlie is also shy and unpopular. In 2012, a film adaptation of the novel was released to positive critical response and commercial success. The film won numerous awards. Challenged on a summer reading list for incoming freshmen at Wharton High School in Tampa, Fla. (2013) because “it deals with sexual situations and drug use.”
Ellis, Elisabeth Gaynor, and Anthony Esler
Challenged, but retained in the Volusia County, Fla. high schools (2013) despite a thirty-two-page chapter on “Muslim Civilizations” that covers the rise of Islam and the building of a Muslim empire. Protesters believe the Volusia high schools are using the world history textbook to “indoctrinate” students into the Islamic religion and recommend student volunteers tear the chapter out of the 1,000-page book.
Challenged, but retained on the shelves of the Randolph County, N.C. high school libraries (2013) despite the book’s strong language. Ellison won the National Book Award for Fiction in 1953. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked the novel
nineteenth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century. Time magazine included the novel in its TIME 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923 to 2005.
The Middle School Survival Guide
WALKER & CO.
Removed from the Walnut Street School library in Delanco, N.J. (2013) because “the book provided too much information about sexual issues for middle school students.”
The Pillars of the Earth
Pulled from a senior English honors class in the Troy, Penn. Area School District (2013) after parent objections. The objections concerned material of a sexual nature in the book that the parents deemed inappropriate. Published in 1989,
the historical novel, set in the middle of the twelfth century, is about the building of a cathedral in the town of Kingsbridge, England. The book was selected for Oprah’s Book Club in 2007.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Challenged, but retained in the Northville, Mich. middle schools (2013) despite anatomical descriptions in the book. Before the school district’s vote, ten free speech organizations signed a letter urging the Northville School District to keep the book. The letter, which was sent to the superintendent and board of education members, “emphasized the power and relatability of Frank’s diary for middle school students. Frank’s honest writings about her body and the changes she was undergoing during her two-year period of hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam can serve as an excellent resource for students themselves undergoing these changes.” The diary has now been published in more than sixty different languages and is on several lists of the top books of the twentieth century.
Temporarily removed from the Alamogordo, N.Mex. High School library and curriculum (2013) because of what
one parent calls “inappropriate content.” The British author wrote in The Guardian: “Well-meaning adults can easily destroy a child’s love of reading. Stop them reading what they enjoy or give them worthy-but dull books that you like—the twenty-firstcentury equivalents of Victorian ‘improving’ literature—you’ll wind up with a generation convinced that reading is uncool and, worse, unpleasant.”
Looking for Alaska
Challenged in the Verona, N.J. High School curriculum (2013) because a parent found the sexual nature of the story
inappropriate. The book was a New York Times bestseller and won the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in young adult literature.
The Popularity Papers
Challenged, but retained at two Prosser, Wash. elementary school libraries (2013). Only available to fifth-graders, the story is written in a journal format and drawn by the two main characters who want to unlock the secrets to being popular in middle school. One of the girls has two fathers; the other has only a mother. The American Library Association’s Rainbow Project selected it as a top-ten title for 2011. It was a 2010 National Parenting Publications Association Gold Award winner and selected by the Chicago Public Library as one of the 2011 “Best of the Best” books.
I Hunt Killers
LITTLE, BROWN BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Challenged on the Lexington, Ky. Henry Clay High School reading list (2013) because it is too violent for teens. The book is listed on the Kentucky Bluegrass Awards for ninth through twelfth grades.
Challenged in Legacy High School’s Advanced Placement English classes in Adams County, Colo. (2013) because it was a “bad book.” A notice was sent home to let parents and students know what they would be reading and why and an
alternate assignment was offered to those who wanted it. Half a dozen students of about 150 opted to read one of the alternative texts and received instruction on those works outside of class time. Challenged on a suggested reading list for Columbus, Ohio high school students (2013) by the school board president because it is inappropriate for the school
board to “even be associated with it.” A fellow board member described the book as having “an underlying socialistcommunist agenda.” Morrison is an Ohio native, Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and Nobel laureate.
Myers, Walter Dean
Challenged on the Danbury Middle School reading list in Toledo, Ohio (2013) because of inappropriate language. The book depicts the reality of the Vietnam War, with sometimes gruesome descriptions of combat and frequent foul language from soldiers. It won the 1988 Coretta Scott King Award.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds
ATHENEUM BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS; SIMON PULSE
Challenged, but retained in the Buffalo, Mo. middle school (2013) despite the principal’s formal complaint against several “very questionable pages” featuring a safe sex scene.
Othman, Norani, ed.
Muslim Women and the Challenges of Islamic Extremism
SISTERS IN ISLAM
Banned by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs (2008) on the grounds that it was “prejudicial to public order” and that it could confuse Muslims, particularly Muslim women. The Malaysian High Court overturned the ban on January 25, 2010, and on March 14, 2013, the Federal Court threw out the government’s appeal to reinstate the ban.
And the Earth Did Not Devour Him
Challenged, but retained as part of the Clarke County, Ga. schools class reading list (2013) despite “a paragraph in the book full of offensive language.” The book is the story of a Mexican boy’s life in a migrant family in the 1940s and 1950s, with themes of family life and tensions, getting an education, and growing up. In 1970 Rivera’s book won the Premio Quinto Sol literary award, established by a California publisher to encourage and promote Chicano authors.
I Am Bane
Challenged, but retained at the Geneva, Ill. Public Library (2013) despite concerns that the images are too scary for young readers. The film The Dark Knight Rises inspired the book.
Eleanor & Park
ST. MARTIN’S PRESS
Retained, despite a challenge by the chairman of the Anoka-Hennepin, Minn. School Board (2013) because parents of a student objected to the book’s content, citing its use of profanity and its treatment of sexuality. The Anoka County Library had scheduled a visit by the author, but the event was cancelled due to the controversy. Set in a poor Omaha neighborhood, the story concerns two outsider teens in the 1980s who find a common bond in music amidst poverty, bullying, abuse, racism, and budding sexuality. Selected by National Public Radio as a 2013 Great Read.
St. Stephen’s Community House
The Little Black Book for Girlz: A Book on Healthy Sexuality
Challenged at the Taft High library in Lincoln City, Oreg. (2013) because “it is simply too graphic for a seventh grader.” Each library book is “run by a district committee made up of district staff and community members.”
The Story of a Childhood
Removed, via a district directive, from all Chicago, Ill. public schools (2013) due to “graphic illustrations and language” and concerns about “developmental preparedness” and “student readiness.” Seventh- and eleventh-grade students
study the graphic novel about the author’s experience growing up in Iran during the Iranian revolution as part of Chicago Public Schools’ Literacy Content Framework. As the news spread of the directive, students mobilized a media
campaign in opposition to “banning a book that’s all about the freedom of speech.” Students took to their Facebook
and Twitter accounts, checked out all library copies of the book, wrote blogs, sent e-mails, wrote investigative articles for the student newspaper, contacted the author, staged protests, and appeared on local radio and television programs. Eventually the school issued a letter telling high school principals to disregard the earlier order to pull the book. The book was a New York Times Notable Book, a Time magazine “Best Comix of the Year,” and a San Francisco Chronicle and Los Angeles Times bestseller. A film version was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 80th Academy Awards in 2007.
Stone, Tanya Lee
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl
Challenged, but retained at the Currituck, N.C. High School library (2013). This first novel by Stone, written in a poetry format, follows the story of three girls who fall for the same bad boy intent on seducing every girl in school.
HARCOURT BRACE JOVANOVICH
Challenged, but retained as a Brunswick County, N.C. Advanced Placement English eleventh-grade assignment (2013). Language and sexuality or “obscenity” were most often cited as the reason for the majority of the unofficial complaints and criticisms, as was whether or not the book, a Pulitzer Prize winner that deals with issues of racism, violence against women, and rape, has literary value that was age appropriate for the students.
Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan
BEACH LANE BOOKS
Challenged in Johnson City, N.Y. schools as a suggested reading (2013) because of violent illustrations and storyline. The book is about the Taliban taking control of an Afghan village and preventing girls from going to school. After Nasreen’s father is kidnapped and presumed killed, her grandmother smuggles her each day to an underground school where she can learn to read and write.
The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq
HMH BOOKS FOR YOUNG READERS
Challenged in Johnson City, N.Y. schools as a suggested reading (2013) because of violent illustrations and storyline. The book is about a librarian who sneaks books out of a library during the U.S. bombings in Iraq. The librarian works with members of the community to keep the books safe until the war is over and a new library can be built.
Source: Books Challenged and/or Banned - 2013-2014 (PDF)
Also found on the American Library Association site, here are the Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books” of 2013:
Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Political viewpoint, racism, violence
The main reason for citing all this material here is to suggest that juveniles and teenagers could do far worse than to read every book on these lists.
As well as this blog, naturally. In fact, they absolutely should.
Notoriously at the very top for depravity and abysmal behaviour lovingly detailed, there is also The Bible. Rape, incest, brutality, violence, whoring, robbery, gluttony, philokalia, politics, and murder; all of it is in there.
Some damned good stuff, AND mind-expanding.
No football (or cheerleading), however.
NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.