Occasional blogging, mostly of the long-form variety.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Banned Books Week 2006

September 23-30 is Banned Books Week, as observed by the American Library Association. Here’s their key press release, from 3/7/06:

“It's Perfectly Normal” tops ALA's 2005 list of most challenged books

CHICAGO – One of the most frequently challenged authors of the past decade has two books on the American Library Association's (ALA) list of the most frequently challenged books of 2005. Robie H. Harris' “It's Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” heads up the list, while “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” rounds out the top 10. Both books drew complaints for sexual content.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 405 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. The majority of challenges are reported by public libraries, schools and school libraries.

According to Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five likely remain unreported.

The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2005” reflect a range of themes. The books are:
• “It's Perfectly Normal” for homosexuality, nudity, sex education, religious viewpoint, abortion and being unsuited to age group;
• “Forever” by Judy Blume for sexual content and offensive language;
• “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger for sexual content, offensive language and being unsuited to age group;
• “The Chocolate War” by Robert Cormier for sexual content and offensive language;
• “Whale Talk” by Chris Crutcher for racism and offensive language;
• “Detour for Emmy” by Marilyn Reynolds for sexual content;
• “What My Mother Doesn't Know” by Sonya Sones for sexual content and being unsuited to age group;
• Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey for anti-family content, being unsuited to age group and violence;
• “Crazy Lady!” by Jane Leslie Conly for offensive language; and
• “It's So Amazing! A Book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families” by Robie H. Harris for sex education and sexual content.

Off the list this year, but on for several years past, are the Alice series of books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck and “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain.

(If Huck Finn were here, he might well be disappointed he didn’t make the list.)

The website has plenty of other resources, including a list of The 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000 (alas, the ALA used to list the reason for the challenges, but that doesn’t seem to be available on the site this year).

Last year’s installment, with a snazzy poster, is here.

(crossposted at The Blue Herald)

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