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The Banned Book Club: What Books Have Joined?

Though most book-ban inquiries remain hush hush, 9,600 requests to censor have been logged since 1990. With the help of news and librarian reports, the American Library Association tracks what tawdry titles threaten to jump off bookshelves into children’s knapsacks. And now USA Today has made a fancy chart, sortable by title, author, reasons for challenge, location, and final decision.

Sexual content was the most oft-cited reason — 144 out of the 272 times — while the racially themed, vulgarly worded, and violently depicted were other chart toppers. Someone even tried to remove the dictionary!

So what aren't we reading? To see some of the most well-known titles and why they were banned,


Removed Books

  • The Bluest Eye: A Toni Morrison novel — and Oprah Book Club selection — was removed from a Colorado school for sexual and violent content.
  • Clifford the Big Red Dog: The bilingual edition was removed from a California school for unspecified reasons. Que?
  • Girl Interrupted: Removed from a Maine school for language.
  • The Lovely Bones: Moved to the faculty section of library after concerns that it was too frightening for students. So, violence?
  • Huck Finn: Removed from multiple schools for racial themes.
  • Harry Potter series: A Catholic school removed them because of inappropriate religious content.
  • Beloved: Removed from an AP English class's reading list because of sex and racial themes.
  • Prep: A Novel: Removed from a school after a parent complained it was pornographic.

Any here shock you? Was a book ever banned from your library or school?

Join The Conversation
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
My first thought was Judy Blume as well, but most of my elementary years were in the 70s, and I think I managed to read them all...and I am glad I got to do so, they were so much more honest (Brutally so, sometimes) than most fluff that showed up on children's shelves. And of course more recently I have heard about the Potter books coming under fire...."fictional magic = witchcraft/occult" along with the vague darkness of some of the therefore the more rabid of the Militant Biblethumpers of America probably had issue with them. Cause we all know that reading Harry Potter will enable us to make flying broomsticks and therefore forsake God cause, well he can't do that!! :P (or something?) I think its sad to ban books like Huck Finn for the racial aspect because look - the book was a product of its time. I am actually a direct descendant of Mark Twain and my grandfather had stories of his Clemens relatives from time to time, Twain was a keen mind, no stranger to satire, and a product of his time and thus his books were reflective of that. To ban them also denies kids and teachers a chance to discuss the past in a useful way, using the book as a study aid. I think compared to now my school years were actually more open minded. We read things like 1984, and The Red Pony, Ordinary People, etc....I never had trouble finding Blume books and the idea that fantasy books would be banned is simply alien to me. How unfortunate that children are denied the opportunity to be challenged and think about what they read. If people are threatened by the material, it means there is probably something in it that should be DISCUSSED - not ignored.
ceej ceej 8 years
Pixel, that's why I was so alarmed to see young children lined up to see The Passion Of the Christ. I would never let my kids see something so graphically violent.
pixelhaze pixelhaze 8 years
popgoestheworld I believe the bible has been banned before, I remember talking about banned books in high school. The only other book I remember being on that list is Lolita . . . One of my theology professors used to joke that "If the bible were a movie, our parents would never let us watch it!" Think about it there's adultery, murder, polygamy, teenage births, fratricide . . .
HeatherStJoeMI HeatherStJoeMI 8 years
I'm not a big fan of Book Banning.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
I can understand the Toni Morrison, or the Maya Angelou books. Those two have rather adult themes. The Catholics banning Harry Potter is par for the course.
lem0n_ lem0n_ 8 years
i can't believe they banned clifford =) what's next? andersen's stories because they're violent?
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
wow that's funny that prep was on that list - i read the book, and yes there was a bit of 'stuff' in there that was less than pure but it's just a book about friends that are girls ...right? anyway, i think that people are often putting too much significance on books, and that's why they want to put them on a banned list. if you don't want your children to read a certain book, then don't let them read it. don't ban it for everyone else in the school or area to have to miss out.
Linny Linny 8 years A woman in my county wants to ban a picture book from the children's section that has two penguins, both male, raising a baby penguin.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I cannot believe that there are many school district that have banned the Judy Blume books from their libraries. Holy cow. The girls at my elementary, middle and high school would have keeled over dead without their Judy Blume fix. Me I was to busy reading Erma Bombeck and Stephen King books during that time never got into Blume. And my sister, her husband and I will always be grateful to JK Rowling and RL Stine. Because my nephew's both became voracious readers because of those books. They already liked reading but when you have to tell two boys to put down the books and play video games or go outside and run around and punch each other, you know these kids found something they will always love. Apparently, Goosebumps and Harry Potter are both evil, satanic, anti-religion books that some schools now ban.
bluesarahlou bluesarahlou 8 years
Em and Jude you ladies just gave me flashbacks to my childhood :rotfl:
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
OH, and what about that school board member who "Promised to bring her religious beliefs to every meeting". Um, HELLO!
Mykie7 Mykie7 8 years
I think the idea of banning ANY book is absolutely ludicrous! I mean Clifford? WTH? Is it offensive to Red Dogs everywhere? Please. I think the idea of requiring parental permission for a book is a great idea. If a parent doesn't want a child to read something, ok, that I can get behind. But to make it unavailable altogether? Especially like the Maya Angelou book or Huck Finn! I mean come on.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
" I should be able to decided what's appropriate/not appropriate for my kids, but not for everyone else." Exactly.
Jessiebanana Jessiebanana 8 years
THE GIVER??? Are they serious. Hands down, one of the best school age level, alternate reality books ever. Of Mice and Men, Huck Finn, The Joy Luck Club, To Kill A Mockingbird aren't these classics? Harry they're just being silly. It's fiction not religious propaganda. I like how a few wizard books made the list, but not vampire or other sci-fi/fantasy. GLBTQ: The Survival Guide for Queer and Questioning Teens, I'm going to go ahead and assume their was prejudice involved in this decision.
milosmommy milosmommy 8 years
I read Lovely Bones and it does have some pretty tough subjects in there for kids so unless they were like high school age I don't thin I would want my kid to read that. But I've never liked the thought of banning books. I should be able to decided what's appropriate/not appropriate for my kids, but not for everyone else. Oh and WTF is wrong with Clifford??? Those people have got to have some screws loose or something.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
I was just thinking... the Bible has some violent parts. I mean, getting nailed to a cross is pretty gruesome. Does the Bible get special dispensation?
geebers geebers 8 years
I read all of those books except Harry Potter (don't ask) and I am really surprised about Huck Finn. I remember Beloved had some really sexual content and maybe it is more appropriate in the Young Adult section and not in the children's section but I don't think banning it makes any sense. Some kids are advanced in their reading level and they may be in 6th grade but can read at a high school level - I read YA books at age 11-12 all the time. I would be very upset if my library banned books because of my age. Side note: I remember when I was really young giggling with my friends over this one Sweet Valley High book -with Jessica and some college guy on the cover with a porn mustache- basically all he did was untie her bikini top and try to kiss her but we all considered it porn back then.
wackdoodle wackdoodle 8 years
I love The Adventures of Huckberry Finn well at least the first 2/3 of like ER doesn't know when to stop. Banned books are at the very least interesting.
LaurenG22 LaurenG22 8 years
How odd about Huck Finn :( sad actually. IT makes me wonder what these children are reading.
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 8 years
If the blog about the Clifford episode is accurate that is just depressing.
bastylefilegirl bastylefilegirl 8 years
I went to school in Berkeley, CA so we got to read anything lol they wouldn't dare ban something at that school because they know they would have a full fledged protest on their hands. I liked " I know why the caged bird sings" I also like "The bluest eye" but I think as an African American girl growing up these are not only great novels but important books to read culturally.
siguros siguros 8 years
Clifford in Spanish ha. Very odd.
PrincessLtrain PrincessLtrain 8 years
The thing that cracks me up about banning books is that it usually only makes kids want to read them more! And to ban books like Huck Finn is ridiculous. What's that saying...something to the effect of the only way to go forward is to look at where you've been? What's next, banning history books because they too have "racial themes"...
stephley stephley 8 years
I don't know, I couldn't find the rules on the post.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I dont know Steph when was that ending?
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