Dav Pilkey’s “Captain Underpants” and Toni Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye” don’t have much in common, except for the fact that they are both favorite targets of censorship. Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) releases a list of the top ten most frequently “challenged” books. A challenged book is one against which an individual or organization has filed a formal written complaint with a school or library and have requested it be removed from the shelves. The ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom compiles this information to draw attention to the ongoing issue of censorship in the country.
Most of the challenges were directed at school libraries, with K-12 classrooms coming in a close second. Others complaints are regularly filed at public libraries and college libraries.
Here are the titles that were on the receiving end of the most complaints in 2013 and the general reasons given.
1. Captain Underpants Series – Dav Pilkey (Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence)
2. The Bluest Eye – Toni Morrison (Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence)
3.The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie (Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
4. Fifty Shades of Grey – E.L. James (Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
5. The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins (Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group)
6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl – Tanya Lee Stone (Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit)
7. Looking for Alaska – John Green (Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower –Stephen Chbosky (drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group)
9. Bless Me, Ultima – Rudolfo Anaya (Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit)
10. Bone (series) – Jeff Smith (Political viewpoint, racism, violence)