Contact: Larra Clark
ALA News Release
For Immediate Release
Harry Potter series again tops list of most challenged books
The best-selling Harry Potter series of children’s books by J.K. Rowling tops the list of books most challenged for the second year in a row. According to the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, Harry Potter first entered the list last year, rising to the top after only three months. The number of challenges to Harry Potter reported in 2000 is triple that of 1999. The series continues to draw complaints from parents and others concerned about the books’ alleged occult/Satanic theme, religious viewpoint, anti-family approach and violence.
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 646 challenges in 2000, up from 472 in 1999. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school about a book’s content or appropriateness. Schools, school libraries, and public libraries report the majority of challenges.
The number of challenges reflects only those incidents reported, according to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom. She estimates that less than one-quarter of all challenges are reported and recorded.
The “Ten Most Challenged Books of 2000” reflect a wide variety of themes. The books, in order of most frequently challenged are:
- Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling, for occult/Satanism and anti-family themes
- “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier, for violence, offensive language and being unsuited to age group
- Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, for sexual content and being unsuited to age group
- “Killing Mr. Griffin,” by Lois Duncan, for violence and sexual content
- “Of Mice and Men,” by John Steinbeck, for using offensive language, racism, violence and being unsuited to age group
- “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, for sexual content, racism, offensive language, violence and being unsuited to age group
- “Fallen Angels,” by Walter Dean Myers, for offensive language, racism, violence and being unsuited to age group
- Scary Stories series, by Alvin Schwartz, for violence, being unsuited to age group and occult themes
- “The Terrorist,” by Caroline Cooney, for violence, being unsuited to age group and occult themes
- “The Giver,” by Lois Lowry, for being sexually explicit, occult themes and violence.
The top three most challenged books of 2000 are the same as 1999, with the “The Chocolate War,” and the Alice series exchanging places. The Scary Stories series, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” “The Chocolate War,” and “Of Mice and Men,” all were among the ten most frequently challenged books of the last decade.
For more information about the most challenged books of the decade, please see http://www.ala.org/alaorg/oif/top100bannedbooks.html.