The American Library Associated has released its annual list of the 10 most challenged library books of the previous year. More than half on the list are books intended for either young or young adult readers.
The book at last year’s top is one that has made the Most-Challenged list since it was published in 2005, often in the No. 1 position. It’s a sweet kids book about a New York City family of three who are just a little bit different. Just a little.
That difference, unfortunately, is seen as unsuitable for 4 to 8 year olds and also of questionable religious viewpoints (though interesting, there isn’t any religion in the book at all. Just snuggles.)
It’s also based on a true story.
In second place is another great read at the young adult level, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.
Four other YA novels are on the list:
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
9. Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
The YA reads are challenged not just for their content (drugs, sexuality, violence), but because they are classified as youth or young adult. In other words, the intended audience is too young to be reading the material. That’s especially strange with Revolutionary Voices, since the book is not only intended for readers Grade 9 to 12, but much of the content was generated from that same age-group.
Here’s a complete Top 10 list and also a link to past lists by year (see sidebar) and also by decade. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling was the most banned/challenged between 2000 and 2009 (Tango is in the No. 4 spot. Nice, real nice.)
The ALA’s director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, Barbara Jones, had this to say about attempts to pull books from library shelves.
While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book. As members of a pluralistic and complex society, we must have free access to a diverse range of viewpoints on the human condition in order to foster critical thinking and understanding. We must protect one of the most precious of our fundamental rights – the freedom to read.
Especially if it’s about two daddy Emperor Penguins and their daughter. That’s just cute.
Image: florian b via flickr