One Writer’s Journey

April 22, 2014

Most Banned Books

Filed under: Uncategorized — suebe @ 1:32 am
Tags: , ,

The ALA just put out their list of the 10 most banned books for 2013.  Here is the list with a few details and my own comments:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey.  Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence.  I have to admit that I was more than a little happy that my son never got into these, but if they get kids to read . . . isn’t that a good thing?
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison.  Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence.  Hmm.  Wasn’t it published for adults?   That said, the objections probably came because it was on a high school reading list.  Still.  Soon, they will be out in this harsh world and wouldn’t it be nice if they had learned how to not only cope but thrive within the safety of a book? 
  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.  I adore this book.  Adore.  It is all of the things they say but it is also real and that what teens, especially teen boys, demand from a book — gritty reality.  
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James. Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group.  Again, this is an adult book.
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins. Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group.  Another one I adore, in part, because it is an amazing social commentary, realistic and oh so gritty.  
  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.  I love this one for the same reasons that I love #3.  
  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.

Admittedly, I haven’t read some of these such as the Bone series.  My son tried those out and was ho hum.

Especially when the readers are teens, I’m amazed at the amount of effort that goes into book banning.  We can’t sanitize the world — why then do we try to sanitize books abut the world.  Instead, we should give them tools to understand, consider and act.  The best tools for this job?  Books.

Bet you didn’t see that coming…





  1. One thing I’ve noticed is that many kids watch TV programming that touches on some of the same issues. I’ve seen this teaching college classes as well. Students will claim a piece like “River of Names” is inappropriate, but when I ask them to describe their favorite shows and movies, they are somehow surprised to find that they see these issues practically every day!

    Comment by Lisa Haag Kang — April 22, 2014 @ 3:50 am | Reply

    • Lisa,
      Interesting! I thought that this was likely the case but didn’t have the information to back it up.
      It does make me wonder why it isn’t objectionable “on screen” but it is “in print.” Wonder if anyone has explored this?

      Comment by suebe — April 22, 2014 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

  2. Any sort of banning scares me. I grew up reading anything I could get my hand on, which is reflected on the bookshelves that line the walls of my house. My kids have their own books, but I am always happy when they pull a book off the shelf that is mine. I adored Bless Me Ultima, but then my family is from the Southwest and I grew up hearing similar stories from my grandparents. When my daughter read it (not authorized by her school) we had a wonderful discussion about her ancestors. Her teachers were always commenting on her choice of books when she was in high school, but I wasn’t going to censor her reading. She read what was required for school, but she loves reading and I wasn’t going to stop her from reading what she was interested in, even when she decided to read The Godfather. She’s a sophomore in college now, and we share books. She read Alice Hoffman’s latest book and when she finished it, told me I would like it.

    Comment by Brenda Moguez (@BrendaMoguez) — April 26, 2014 @ 3:31 pm | Reply

    • Brenda,
      Bless you for encouraging your kids to read so widely. Ideas scare so many people. I’m much more frightened of ignorance.

      Comment by suebe — April 28, 2014 @ 3:58 am | Reply

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