Each year the American Library Association compiles a list of books targeted with removal or restrictions in libraries and schools across the county. The ALA says, “Banned Book Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read”.
Below is the list of the most challenged book of 2014. How many have you read?
The Top Ten Most Challenged Books in 2014:
In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
(Reasons for challenges: Anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying.”)
Wise, funny, and heartbreaking, Persepolis is Marjane Satrapi’s memoir of growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. In powerful black-and-white comic strip images, Satrapi tells the story of her life in Tehran from ages six to fourteen, years that saw the overthrow of the Shah’s regime, the triumph of the Islamic Revolution, and the devastating effects of war with Iraq. The intelligent and outspoken only child of committed Marxists and the great-granddaughter of one of Iran’s last emperors, Marjane bears witness to a childhood uniquely entwined with the history of her country.
Persepolis paints an unforgettable portrait of daily life in Iran and of the bewildering contradictions between home life and public life. Marjane’s child’s-eye view of dethroned emperors, state-sanctioned whippings, and heroes of the revolution allows us to learn as she does the history of this fascinating country and of her own extraordinary family. Intensely personal, profoundly political, and wholly original, Persepolis is at once a story of growing up and a reminder of the human cost of war and political repression. It shows how we carry on, with laughter and tears, in the face of absurdity. And, finally, it introduces us to an irresistible little girl with whom we cannot help but fall in love.
(Reasons: Gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions.”)
This tender tale of two male penguins raising a baby penguin together is based on actual occurrences at the Central Park Zoo in New York City. Of all the penguins around, Roy and Silo choose each other and spend all their time together: swimming, walking, and singing. They even make a nest with stones for eggs, and carefully tend to it, though nothing ever hatches. A watchful zookeeper places an abandoned egg in their nest, and the two joyfully hatch and raise Tango, their very own chick.
Illustrated with delicate watercolors, this touching story focuses on the wonderful diversity that can make up a family.
(Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homo-sexual agenda.)
The Bluest Eye, published in 1970, is the first novel written by Toni Morrison, winner of the 1993 Nobel Prize in Literature. It is the story of eleven-year-old Pecola Breedlove — a black girl in an America whose love for its blond, blue-eyed children can devastate all others — who prays for her eyes to turn blue: so that she will be beautiful, so that people will look at her, so that her world will be different. This is the story of the nightmare at the heart of her yearning, and the tragedy of its fulfillment.
(Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues.”)
Ages 10 and up. — When young people have questions about sex, real answers can be hard to find. Providing accurate, unbiased answers to nearly every conceivable question, from conception and puberty to birth control and AIDS, It’s Perfectly Normal offers young people the real information they need now more than ever to make responsible decisions and to stay healthy.
Frankly written with nicely done cartoon-like illustrations. Plus there is a bird and a bee who have side dialogue that is delightful.
(Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it [to be] child pornography.”)
Saga by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Written by Eisner Award-winning “Best Writer” Brian K. Vaughan (Y: The Last Man, The Private Eye) and drawn by Harvey Award-winning “Best Artist” Fiona Staples (Mystery Society, North 40) Saga is the story of Hazel, a child born to star-crossed parents from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war. Now, Hazel’s fugitive family must risk everything to find a peaceful future in a harsh universe that values destruction over creation.
(Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.)
This powerful first novel tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, the privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country’s revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. But political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a part of this story. Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence, forces that continue to threaten them even today.
(Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.)
Standing on the fringes of life…offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.This haunting novel about the dilemma of passivity vs. passion marks the stunning debut of a provocative new voice in contemporary fiction: The Perks of Being a Wallflower.This is the story of what it’s like to grow up in high school. More intimate than a diary, Charlie’s letters are singular and unique, hilarious and devastating. We may not know where he lives. We may not know to whom he is writing. All we know is the world he shares. Caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it puts him on a strange course through uncharted territory. The world of first dates and mixed tapes, family dramas and new friends. The world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite.Through Charlie, Stephen Chbosky has created a deeply affecting coming-of-age story, a powerful novel that will spirit you back to those wild and poignant roller coaster days known as growing up.
(Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation.”)
In the summer of 1991 I was a normal kid. I did normal things. I had friends and a mother who loved me. I was just like you. Until the day my life was stolen. — For eighteen years I was a prisoner. I was an object for someone to use and abuse. — For eighteen years I was not allowed to speak my own name. I became a mother and was forced to be a sister. For eighteen years I survived an impossible situation.
On August 26, 2009, I took my name back. My name is Jaycee Lee Dugard. I don’t think of myself as a victim. I survived.
A Stolen Life is my story — in my own words, in my own way, exactly as I remember it.
(Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.)
Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school’s production of Moon Over Mississippi, she’s a terrible singer. Instead she’s the set designer for the stage crew, and this year she’s determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn’t know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen, and when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier! Following the success of SMILE, Raina Telgemeier brings us another graphic novel featuring a diverse set of characters that humorously explores friendship, crushes, and all-around drama!
(Reasons: Sexually explicit.)