And the winner of the most banned book for 2014 is…a great read!
I’m not sure what it says about me but I probably get more excited about the ALA banned books list than I do about the Newbery Awards. Maybe it’s just that with my sense of humor and personality, I could one day have a banned book. The Newbery feels must more remote.
Anyway, the ALA (American Library Association) just put out their list of the most challenged books for 2014. Not surprisingly, there are some old favorites.
1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence, and depictions of bullying.
This is one of my favorite books. In fact, I gush so much over it that my son read it for lit class. He highly recommends it because the characters are real. When I asked him to elaborate, he explained that they weren’t too good to be true. “There’s a character for everyone in there.”
2) Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint, racially offensive, and graphic depictions.
3) And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and promotes the homosexual agenda.
I. Love. This. Book. Of course, I think it is hilarious that three penguins are being accused of promoting anything let alone “the homosexual agenda.” We won’t even go into my view points concerning that phrase — just remember that if I am never banned, it will be surprising. If you haven’t read it, this is a picture book about two adult penguins in a zoo who raise a young penguin. Yes, they are two adult males but this is a book about family and caring, not about sex. And the penguins aren’t at all religious so if you’re an atheist, don’t worry. They won’t offend you with their viewpoint. I’m not sure what religious viewpoint the banners were griping about.
4) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, and contains controversial issues.
I haven’t read this one but my sister adores this book. It is an adult book, but we assign adult books to teens all the time. Huck Fin. Tom Sawyer. The Grapes of Wrath. All adult books that my son has read in class.
5) It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris. Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and “alleges it child pornography.”
Well, it is a nonfiction book about sex. So, yeah. It’s going to be in there. I love that someone picked this book up and then freaked because it was sex education. That is kind of the point. That’s like ordering halibut in a restaurant and griping because you hate fish.
6) Saga by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
I haven’t read this one but it’s an adult graphic novel. I really do wonder about the anti-family bit since the description reads like interracial Romeo and Juliet in space. So, you know I’ve requested it.
7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.
Again, it is an adult book. We assign them all the time. But it has some pretty hard to handle stuff in it — stuff that we don’t seem to be concerned about weeding out of the real world. Ahem.
8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.
9) A Stolen Life Jaycee Dugard. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
10) Drama by Raina Telgemeier. Reasons: sexually explicit.
The only objection to this one is that it’s sexually explicit but it is a graphic novel for middle graders. Hmm. Not going to pass judgement without seeing it for myself so I’ve requested this one too.
There are some amazing reads on this list!