ALA 09-10 Banned Books List

Full list available in a PDF here. As I do every year around Banned Books Week,which this year is Sept. 25th through Oct. 2nd, is highlight a few of my favorite challenges. This year I’m including links to Powells.com for the ones I’ve selected because I think they’re the kind of books people should read.

I do not get any money if you buy the book through my link.

Ehrenreich, Barbara; Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America (Holt)
Challenged at the Easton, Penn. School District (2010), but retained despite a parent’s claim the book promotes “economic fallacies” and socialist ideas, as well as advocating the use of illegal drugs and belittling Christians. Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2010, p. 107.

Fuentes, Carlos; Aura (Farrar)

Banned from the curriculum in Puerto Rican public high schools (2009) along with four other books because of coarse language. Written by one of Latin America’s most prominent contemporary writers, the novel contains a brief romantic encounter beneath a crucifix. It is a scene that prompted Mexico’s former interior secretary to try to have the book dropped from a reading list at his daughter’s private school, without success. Fuentes said that the attempt boosted sales of the book. The other titles banned were: Antologia personal, by Jose Luis Gonzalez; Mejor te lo cuento: antologia personal, 1978–2005, by Juan Antonio Ramos; Reunion de espejos, by Jose Luis Vega; and El entierro de Cortijo: 6 de octubre de 1982, by Edgardo Rodriguez Julia. Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2009, p. 204.

Lee, Harper; To Kill a Mockingbird (Lippincott/Harper; Popular Library)
Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada (2009) because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “nigger.” Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2009, pp. 203–4.

Sedaris, David; I Like Guys: A Short Story from Naked (Back Bay Books)
Pulled from a Litchfield, N.H. Campbell High School elective course classroom (2009) after parents voiced their concerns about a short-stories unit called “Love/Gender/Family Unit” that dealt with subject matters including abortion, cannibalism, homosexuality, and drug use. The parents said the stories promoted bad behavior and a “political agenda” and they shouldn’t be incorporated into classroom teachings. The Campbell High School English curriculum adviser said the short story was selected not only for its tone and style, but also its message of respect and acceptance, not for advocating homosexuality. The English curriculum adviser eventually resigned. Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Sept. 2009, p. 154.

Moore, Alan; The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: Black Dossier (America’s Best Comics)
Challenged at the Jessamine County Public Library in Nicolasville, Ky. (2009). A petition with 950 signatures was presented to the board to overturn its collection policy. The petition specifically asked for the removal of four works on the grounds that they “offended me in that they depict sexual acts and/or describe such acts in a way that in my opinion are contrary to the Jessamine County public opinion” of what should be in a public, taxpayer-supported collection. The petition concluded the works constituted a public safety issue in that they encourage sexual predators. In addition to Moore’s graphic novel, the other works challenged were Snuff, by Chuck Palahniuk, Choke, a DVD based on a novel by Palahniuk; and the DVD Ron White: You Can’t Fix Stupid. The graphic novel eventually got two employees fired for breaching library policies, the library director was threatened with physical harm, and the book was recataloged, along with other graphic novels with mature trends, to a separate but unrestricted graphic novels section of the library. Source:Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Jan. 2010, pp. 8–9; Mar. 2010, p. 52.

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