The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

National News

April 17, 2013

Latest list of frequently challenged books released

— Captain Underpants and Christian Grey have something in common.

The “Captain Underpants” series of kids books found itself at No. 1 on the American Library Association’s most recent list of frequently challenged books. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” the sultry story of a woman’s romantic exploits with a rich man, ranked No. 4.

The list, compiled by the association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, is based on reports of challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports. The list is a part of the association’s annual report on the state of the country’s libraries.

The list includes the following titles:

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group.

2. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

3. “Thirteen Reasons Why,” by Jay Asher. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group.

4. “Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit.

5. “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson. Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group.

6. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini. Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit.

7. “Looking for Alaska,” by John Green. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group.

8. “Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz. Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence.

9. “The Glass Castle,” by Jeanette Walls. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit.

10. “Beloved,” by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence.

According to a press release, the association defines a challenge as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book be removed or restricted based on its content. The number of reports increased in 2012 to 464, up from 326 in 2011.


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