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Week of 9.26.09

Banned Books Week 2009

This week marks the 28th anniversary of "Banned Books Week," an effort by the American Library Association (ALA) to promote freedom of access to "unorthodox or unpopular" written works.

Book Cover: 'And Tango Makes Three' Banned Books Week draws attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books in schools and libraries across the United States. In 2008, the ALA recorded 513 challenges.

"And Tango Makes Three," the children's tale of two male penguins caring for an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, was named "most challenged book" for the third year running. The award-winning book by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell was challenged most often for perceived references to homosexuality.

The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2008," according to the ALA were:
  1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

  2. "His Dark Materials" trilogy by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

  3. "TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R" (series) by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

  4. "Scary Stories" (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

  5. "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

  6. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

  7. "Gossip Girl" (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

  8. "Uncle Bobby's Wedding" by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

  9. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

  10. "Flashcards of My Life" by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group
According to the ALA there have been 3,736 challenges from 2001-2008:
  • 1,225 challenges due to "sexually explicit" material
  • 1,008 challenges due to "offensive language"
  • 720 challenges due to material deemed "unsuited to age group"
  • 458 challenges due to "violence"
  • 269 challenges due to "homosexuality"
  • 103 challenges due to "anti-family"
  • 233 challenges due to "religious viewpoints"
The ALA says that for each challenge reported there are as many as four or five which go unreported.

Related Resources:

Banned Books Week

Censorship Map

Most Challenged Books from 1990-2000

BBW Events in Your Area

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