Tuesday, February 27, 2007

100 most frequently challenged books of 1990-2000

Today I want to introduce you to the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990–2000. After compiling challenged from across the country, they create this list for our enjoyment.

Some of the books on the list won't surprise you at all. For example:
But, there are some that at first glance seem really out of place, like:

James and the Giant Peach was challenged because of it's portrayal of child abuse (among other things - click on the link above to see some of challenges it has faced). At the beginning of the book, James is abused by his two evil aunts who take custody of him after his parents die in a bizarre accident. Though I agree that reading about an abused child is sad, the majority of the book is about his adventures in a giant peach. And, it has a happy ending.

Where's Waldo? has been challenged because of one of its intricately drawn characters - apparently there is a wee tiny little topless sunbather in one of the books.

At the top of the list, there's a great quote by Judy Blume, who is on the list *5* times:
“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.”

She has a point. People won't write books if they think that they will be banned (it would be a waste of time) and youth have the misfortune of having well meaning parents, teachers and community leaders decide what is appropriate for them. I thank my lucky stars that I was one of the fortunate kids - my parents challenged me to think outside the box, and they weren't afraid of a wee little topless sunbather.

ALA also has a list of the most challenged books between 2000 and 2005, which includes the Harry Potter series and yet another Judy Blume (hmm, I'm starting the get the feeling that I should read some of her books).

Happy Freedom to Read week!!

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