We owe it to each other to tell stories - Neil Gaiman

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Recently banned/challenged books (in America)

In 2007, Maya Angelou’s “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” was challenged in Manheim Township, Penn., because of sexual references. However, it remained in the ninth grade curriculum although it was taught later in the year. Some parents believed that this book, along with five others, should require parental permission.

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman was removed from library shelves (but later returned) at a Catholic School in Ontario, Canada, for being anti-God, anti-Catholic, and written by an atheist. In 2007 and 2008, middle schools in Kentucky, Colorado, Wisconsin and others pulled the book from library shelves for reasons ranging from “wine ingestion” and “anti-Christian message”.

All Harry Potter books have been strongly and persistently challenged by parents and sometimes actually removed from school libraries for promoting witchcraft and disobedience to adults. A case in Georgia went as far as Superior Court, where Judge Ronnie Batchelor upheld local school officials’ decision that the books are good tools for encouraging children to read.

In 2007, a resident of Cherry Hill, N.J., challenged Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird” because she feared it would upset black children due to the depiction of how blacks were treated in a racist white community in Alabama during the Depression. The school decided to retain the book in its English curriculum.

In 2007, a patron refused to return “It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health” to her public library in Maine, stating she was “horrified by the illustrations and sexually graphic, amoral, abnormal contents.” The patron who removed the book will stand trial for theft, after a police investigation found the library innocent of obscenity charges.

The following books have been banned or challenged somewhere in the United States in the last 15 years.

* Alvarez, Julia. “How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.”
* Conroy, Pat. “The Prince of Tides.”
* DeLillo, Don. “White Noise.”
* Grahame, Kenneth. “The Wind in the Willows.”
* Hurston, Zora Neale. “Their Eyes Were Watching God.”
* Mathabane, Mark. “Kaffir Boy.”
* Milne, A.A. “Winnie-the-Pooh.”
* Myracle, Laura. “TTYL.”
* Sebold, Alice. “The Lovely Bones.”
* Stroud, Jonathan. “The Golem’s Eye.”
* Taylor, Mildred. “The Land.”
* Vonnegut, Kurt. “Slaughterhouse Five.”

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