Saturday, September 25, 2010


(All information was taken from the ALA site)

This is going to be an information only post because I'm on the last leg of my Fall Catch-Up Read-A-Thon (if you're participating in the read-a-thon, I hope you're enjoying it!).  I will have daily BBW posts and commentary every day starting Monday and extending through Friday.  I hope you will stop by!

BOOKS BANNED OR CHALLENGED IN 2009/2010 by Robert P. Doyle

Banned Books Week 2010 is the twenty-ninth annual celebration of the freedom to read. This freedom, not only to choose what we read, but also to select from a full array of possibilities, is fi rmly rooted in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and freedom of the press. Although we enjoy an increasing quantity and availability of information and reading material, we must remain vigilant to ensure that access to this material is preserved; would-be censors who continue to threaten the freedom to read come from all quarters and all political persuasions. Even if well intentioned, censors try to limit the freedom of others to choose what they read, see, or hear.

Sex, profanity, and racism remain the primary categories of objections, and most occur in schools and school libraries. Frequently, challenges are motivated by the desire to protect children. While the intent is commendable, this method of protection contains hazards far greater than exposure to the “evil” against which it is leveled. U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, in Texas v. Johnson, said, “If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the Government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society fi nds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” Individuals may restrict what they themselves or their children read, but they must not call on governmental or public agencies to prevent others from reading or seeing that material.

The challenges documented in this list are not brought by people merely expressing a point of view; rather, they represent requests to remove materials from schools or libraries, thus restricting access to them by others. Even when the eventual outcome allows the book to stay on the library shelves and even when the person is a lone protester, the censorship attempt is real. Someone has tried to restrict another person’s ability to choose.

Challenges are as important to document as actual bannings, in which a book is removed from the shelves of a library or bookstore or from the curriculum at a school. Attempts to censor can lead to voluntary restriction of expression by those who seek to avoid controversy; in these cases, material may not be published at all or may not be purchased by a bookstore, library, or school district.

It should be noted that this bibliography is incomplete because many prohibitions against free speech and expression remain undocumented. Surveys indicate approximately 85 percent of the challenges to library materials receive no media attention and remain unreported. Moreover, this list is limited to books and does not include challenges to magazines, newspapers, films, broadcasts, plays, performances, electronic publications, or exhibits.

This bibliography represents books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2009 and 2010 as reported in the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom from May 2009−May 2010. (A date prior to May 2009 indicates the controversy began earlier, but continues into 2010.) 

I've included a basic description of the reasons these books were challenged/banned.  For full descriptions, go HERE.
  • The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian--Sherman Alexie (language vulgar and racist)
  • Twisted--Laurie Halse Anderson (foul language & cover topics such as sex, child abuse, suicide, and drug abuse)
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings--Maya Angelou (book's contents inappropriate for children)
  • Baby Be-Bop--Francesca Lia Block (specific words used in the book are derogatory and
    slanderous to all males)
  • The Tortilla Curtain--T. Coraghessan Boyle
  • Buster's Sugartime--Marc Tolon Brown (features 2 same sex couples and their children)
  • Running with Scissors--Augusten Burroughs (contained explicit homosexual and heterosexual situations, profanity, underage drinking and smoking, extreme moral shortcomings, child molesters, graphic pedophile situations and total lack of negative consequences throughout the book)
  • House of Night series--P.C. and Kristin Cast (sexual content and nudity)
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower--Stephen Chbosky (homosexuality, drug use,
    and sexual behavior)
  • Joy of Sex--Alex Comfort (“harmful to minors under state law)
  • Deadline--Chris Crutcher (foul language and covering topics — including sex, child abuse, suicide, and drug abuse)
  • Deal with It! A Whole New Approach to Your Body, Brain, and Life as a gURL--Esther Drill (pornographic and worse than an R-rated movie)
  • Sex for Busy People: The Art of the Quickie for Lovers on the Go--Emily Dubberley (harmful to minors under state law)
  • Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America--Barbara Ehrenreich (promotes “economic fallacies” and socialist ideas, as well as advocating the use of illegal drugs and belittling Christians)
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl--Anne Frank (book includes sexual material and homosexual themes)
  • Aura--Carlos Fuentes (contains a brief romantic encounter beneath a crucifix)
  • Mastering Multiple Position Sex--Eric Marlowe Garrison
  • The Dead Man in Indian Creek--Mary Downing Hahn (because of the drugs and drug smuggling activities in the book)
  • Lesbian Kama Sutra--Kat Harding (harmful to minors under state law)
  • Geography Club--Brent Hartinger (obscene or child pornography)

  • Hills Like White Elephants: A Short Story: The Complete Short Stories of  Ernest Hemingway--Ernest Hemingway (subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use)

  • Mein Kampf--Adolf Hitler (the book could fuel support for far-right groups)

  • A Prayer for Owen Meaney--John Irving (objectionable language and sexuality)

  • The Bermudez Triangle--Maureen Johnson (sexual innuendo, drug references, and other adult topics)

  • Survivor Type: A Short Story from Skeleton Crew--Stephen King (subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use)

  • The Bean Trees--Barbara KingsolverThe Cartoons that Shook the World--Jytte Klausen (sexual scenes and vulgar language)
  • Lessons from a Dead Girl--Jo Knowles (Johanna Beth) (foul language and cover topics — including sex, child abuse, suicide, and drug abuse)
  • To Kill a Mocking Bird--Harper Lee (language used in the novel, including the word “nigger.”)
  • The Crack Cocaine Diet: A Short Story from Hardly Knew Her--Laura Lippman (subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use)
  • Kurt Cobain--Michael Martin (“very dark and violent and made references to the use of Ritalin as being a precursor to the use of illicit drugs.  It also covered topics such as mental illness and suicide.”)
  • In the Middle of the Night: The Shocking True Story of a Family Killed in Cold Blood--Brian McDonald (Complainants want the book kept off the library shelves until the men accused of the crime have been tried)
  • Vampire Academy series--Richelle Mead (sexual content and nudity)
  • Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary--Merriam-Webster Editorial Staff (parent complained when a child came across the term “oral sex.”)
  • Twilight series--Stephenie Meyer (content is too sexual and goes against religious beliefs)
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier--Alan Moore (depict sexual acts and constituted a public safety issue in that they encourage sexual predators)
  • Song of Solomon--Toni Morrison 
  • ttyl--Lauren Myracle (foul language, sexual content, and questionable sexual behavior)
  • And Tango Makes Three--Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell (book wasn’t age-appropriate, didn’t follow the district’s policy on human sexuality education, and tries to indoctrinate children about homosexuality)
  • Stuck in the Middle: Seventeen Comics from an Unpleasant Age--Ariel Schrag, ed. (bullying and boy-girl awkwardness. Masturbation and marijuana show up in passing)
  • Living Dead Girl--Elizabeth Scott (graphic content and the unsatisfactory ending)
  • I Like Guys: A Short Story from Naked--David Sedaris (subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use and promoted bad behavior and a "political agenda")
  • The Bookseller of Kabul--Åsne Seierstad (concerns about sexual content)
  • How to Get Suspended and Influence People--Adam Selzer (cover included an abstract drawing of a nude woman and the back cover contains some profanity)
  • Unwind--Neal Shusterman (foul language and cover topics — including sex, child abuse, suicide, and drug abuse)
  • The Joy of Gay Sex--Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano ("harmful to minors under state law")
  • The Egypt Game--Zilpha Keatley Snyder (includes scenes depicting Egyptian worship rituals)
  • One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies--Sonya Sones (“sexual content was too mature for eleven- to fourteen-year-olds.”)
  • Dragon Ball: The Monkey King--Akira Toriyama (depict some violence and show nudity)
  • Only in Your Dreams: A Gossip Girl Novel--Cecily Von Ziegesar (sexual innuendo, drug references, and other adult topics)
  • Jubilee--Margaret Walker (“offensive” and “trashy” and a novel about the way of life in the Old South. “We believe it is to promote superiority for white people and to step on black people and make them feel inferior.”)
  • The Glass Castle: A Memoir--Jeannette Walls (profanity, criticisms of Christianity, and accounts of sexual abuse and prostitution)
  • Paint Me Like I Am: Teen Poems--WritersCorps (profanity and details a violent relationship between an adult and child)

To protect your right to read, get involved! Here's what you can do:

Stay Informed
  • Be aware of what’s happening
  • Attend school board, library board, and PTA meetings
  • Subscribe to print and online news publications
  • Join groups committed to preserving the right to read
Challenge Censorship
  • Report censorship to ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom
  • Attend and participate in public hearings
  • Write letters to public officials
  • Send a letter or an op-ed article to local news organizations
  • Work with community group
  • Form a coalition to oppose censorshi in your community
  • Seek assistance from national groups
  • Join Friends of the Libraries and PTAs
  • Participate in Banned Books Week
(For more detailed information, go HERE)

Support Banned Books Week!!!

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