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Why Have These Books Been Banned/Challenged?

Why Have These Books Been Banned/Challenged?

On average, more than a book a day faces removal from free and open public access in U.S. schools and libraries. Below is information on why books by Chris Crutcher, Robie Harris, Carolyn Mackler, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Marilyn Reynolds, Sonya Sones, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell have been challenged or banned.

Books Written By Chris Crutcher

Athletic Shorts

Challenged at the Charleston County, S.C. School library (1995) because the books deals with divorce,violence, AIDS, and homosexuality. Pulled from the elementary school collections, but retained at the middle school libraries in Anchorage, Alaska (1999). A parent challenged the book of short stories because of the book's lack of respect for parents and God, its treatment of homosexuality, and its bad language.

Chinese Handcuffs

Challenged, but retained, at the Lincoln High School in Wisconsin Rapids, WI (1998). A parent complained about "the book's depiction of incest, rape, animal torture, teen drug use, breaking and entering, illegal use of a video camera, profanity directed to a school principal, and graphic sexual references."

In the Time I Get

Challenged in the Solon, Iowa eighth-grade language arts class (2004) because the short story is about a man who befriends a young man dying of AIDS. The short story, published in Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher, was eventually retained.

Running Loose

Challenged at the Gwinnett County, GA pulic schools (1986) because of its discussion of sex.

Stotan!

Removed from the Jackson County, WV school libraries (1997) along with sixteen other titles.

Whale Talk

Removed from all five Limestone County, AK high school libraries (2005) because of the book's use of profanity. Removed from the suggested reading list for a pilot English0literature curriculum by the superintendent of the South Carolina Board of Education (2005). Challenged at the Grand Ledge, MI High School (2005). Challenged at the Missouri Valley, Iowa High School (2007) because the book uses racial slurs and profanity.

Books Written By Robie Harris

It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health

Challenged at the Provo, Utah Library (1996) because it contains discussions of intercourse, masturbation, and homosexuality. Removed from the Clover Park, Wash. School District library shelves (1996) because the "book is an act of encouragement for children to begin desiring sexual gratification . . . and is a clear example of child pornography." Challenged but retained in the children's section of the Mexico-Audrain County, Mo. Library (1997). A Baptist minister complained not only about this title, but also about other "material concerning family sensitive issues, such as sexuality, the death of a loved one, or the birth process." Challenged but retained, at the Fargo, N.Dak. Public Library (1997). The statement of requesting the book's removal cited the book as "too explicit, pornographic, and too easily accessible to children." Challenged, but retained at the Auburn-Placer County, Calif. Library (1999) because of sexually explicit content. The book was moved from the children's to the adult section of the library. Challenged at the Marion County, Fla. Public Library (2001). Critics called the book pornographic and demanded it be permanently removed from the library or placed in a special restricted-access area. Restricted to elementary school pupils with parental permission at the Anchorage, Alaska (2001) due to objections to the book's "value statements" and because "marriage is mentioned once in the whole book, while homosexual relationships are allocated an entire section." Challenged, but retained in the Montgomery County, Tex. library system (2002) after a conservative Christian group, the Republican Leadership Council, characterized the book as "vulgar" and trying "to minimize or even negate that homosexuality is a problem." Relocated from the young adult to the adult section of the Fort Bend County Libraries in Richmond, Tex. (2003). The same title was recently moved to the restricted section of the Fort Bend School District's media centers after a resident sent an e-mail message to the superintendent expressing concern about the book's content. The Spirit of Freedom Republican Women's Club petitioned the superintendent to have it, along with It's So Amazing, moved because they contain "frontal nudity and discussion of homosexual relationships and abortion." Challenged, but retained at the Holt Middle School parent library in Fayetteville, Ark. (2005) despite a parent's complaint that it was sexually explicit.

It's So Amazing

Relocated from the young adult to the adult section of the Fort Bend County Libraries in Richmond, Tex. (2003). The same title was recently moved to the restricted section of the Fort Bend School District's media centers after a resident sent an e-mail message to the superintendent expressing concern about the book's content. The Spirit of Freedom Republican Women's Club petitioned the superintendent to have it, along with It's Perfectly Normal: A Book about Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, moved because they contain "frontal nudity and discussion of homosexual relationship and abortion." Restricted, but later returned to general circulation shelves with some limits on student access, based on a review committee's recommendations, at the Holt Middle School parent library in Fayetteville, Ark. (2005) despite a parent's complaint that it was sexually explicit. Relocated to the reference section of the Northern Hills Elementary school media center in Onalaska, Wis. (2005) because a parent complained about its frank yet kid-friendly discussion of reproduction topics, including sexual intercourse, masturbation, abortion, and homosexuality."

Books Written By Carolyn Mackler

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things

Banned by the Carroll County Superintendent in Westminster, Md. (2006), but after protests from students, librarians, national organizations, and the publisher, the book was returned to the high school libraries, but not middle schools. The superintendent objected to the book's use of profanity and its sexual references. The book was named the 2004 Michael L. Printz Honor Book, the American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults, and the International Reading Association's 2005 Young Adults' Choice, among other accolades.

Love and Other Four Letter Words

Removed from the Lincoln Junior High School in Naperville, Ill. (2001) because in addition to swear words and discussions about "getting wasted," the book contains graphic passages about masturbation and sexual intercourse.

Vegan Virgin Valentine

Challenged in the Mandarin High School library in Jacksonville, Fla. (2007) because of inappropriate language.

Books Written By Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Achingly Alice

Banned from the Webb City, Mo. school library (2002) because the book promotes homosexuality and discusses issues "best left to parents."

The Agony of Alice

Challenged, but retained at the Franklin Sherman Elementary School library and on the Fairfax County, Va. approved reading list (2000). The book, however, is limited in its classroom use to small discussion groups for girls only.

Alice in Lace

Banned from the Webb City, Mo. school library (2002) because the book promotes homosexuality and discusses issues "best left to parents."

Alice on the Outside

Available with parental permission in the librarian's office at Shelbyville, Ky. East Middle School (2005) because the book is "too sexually explicit" for middle-school students.

Alice the Brave

Challenged in the Mesquite, Tex. Pirrung Elementary School library (2004) due to sexual references.

Alice, In Between

Removed from the Monroe, Conn. sixth-grade required reading list (1998) after some parents called attention to the book's sexual content. The series of books by the Newbery Award-winning children's author includes The Agony of Alice and Outrageously Alice.

All But Alice

Restricted to students with parental permission at the Monroe Elementary School library in Thorndike, Maine (1997). Removed from the District 196 elementary school libraries in Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, Minn. (1997) because of a brief passage in which the seventh-grade heroine discusses sexually oriented rock lyrics with her father and older brother; the school board considered the book inappropriate for the ages of the students.

The Fear Place

Challenged at the Madison Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (1998). A review committee asked that the book carry a warning about objectionable language and that teachers consider notifying parents if they are going to use the book in class.

The Grooming of Alice

Banned from the Webb City, Mo. school library (2002) because the book promotes homosexuality and discusses issues "best left to parents."

Reluctantly Alice

Challenged in the Wake County, N.C. schools (2006). Parents received help from Called2Action, a Christian group that says its mission is to "promote and defend our shared family and social values."

Send No Blessings

Challenged at the Cedar Valley Elementary School in Kent, Wash. (1993) because parents claimed the book condones child molestation and promiscuity.

Witch Herself

Retained at the Ector County, Tex. school library (1989) after being challenged because the book might lure children into the occult.

Witch Water

Retained at the Ector County, Tex. school library (1989) after being challenged because the book might lure children into the occult.

Witch's Sister

Challenged at the Multnomah County Library in Portland, Oreg. (1988) because the occult topic could be frightening and traumatic for children. Retained at the Ector County, Tex. school library (1989) after being challenged because the book might lure children into the occult.

Written By Marilyn Reynolds

Detour for Emmy

Removed from Dysart Unified School District libraries, Dysart, Ariz., (2000) for its portrayal of teenage pregnancy. Challenged in the Action Middle School library in Grandbury, Tex. (2004) because it "talks very vividly about sexual encounters of a fifteen-year-old." The book was cited as one of the American Library Association's Best Book for Young Adults in 1993.

Written By Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

And Tango Makes Three

Moved from the children's fiction section to children's nonfiction at two Rolling Hill's Consolidated Library's branches in Savannah and St. Joseph, Mo. (2006) after parents complained it had homosexual undertones. The illustrated book is based on a true story of two male penguins that adopted an abandoned egg at New York City's Central Park in the late 1990s. Challenged at the Shiloh, Ill. Elementary School library (2006). A committee of school employees and a parent suggested the book be moved to a separate shelf, requiring parent permission before checkout. The school's superintendent, however, rejected the proposal and the book remained on the library shelf. Pulled from four elementary-school libraries in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, N.C. (2007) after a few parents and Mecklenburg County Commissioner Bill James questioned the controversial but true story. The books were returned after the local paper questioned the ban. It should be noted that there was no formal request for the book's removal.

Written By Sonya Sones

What My Mother Doesn't Know

Removed from the library shelves of the Rosedale Union School District in Bakersfield, Calif. (2003) because of discomfort with Sones's poem, "Ice Capades"—a teenage girl's description of how her breasts react to cold. Challenged at the Bonnette Junior High School library in Deer Park, Tex. (2004) because the book includes foul language and references to masturbation. The book was selected as a "Best Book for Young Adults," by ALA in 2002; "Young Adults Choice," by the International Reading Association in 2003; and included on the Texas Lone Star State Reading List.

© 2007 Banned Books Resource Guide, Robert P. Doyle, American Library Association

Related Links

Why Banned Books Week?

Includes history of Banned Books Week and why it is important to celebrate your freedom to read, and BBW sponsors.

Challenged and Banned Books

Includes "Why are Books Challenged?" "Who Challenges Books?" "What's the Difference Between a Challenge and a Banning?" "How is the List of Most Challenged Books Tabulated?" "The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2002," and "The Most Frequently Challenged Authors of 2002."

Latest Banned Books Week Press Kit 

Who decides what you will find freely available in your public and school libraries? Almost 25 years after its initiation, Banned Books Week (September 23–September 30, 2006) has special resonance as gay- and lesbian-themed books and other GLBT materials come under attack.

Book and Author Challenges

See also Dealing with Challenges to Books and Other Library Materials, Reporting a Challenge, and Office for Intellectual Freedom Challenge Database Form.


 
“Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.”—ALA Library Bill of Rights
 

  Links to non-ALA sites have been provided because these sites may have information of interest. Neither the American Library Association nor the Office for Intellectual Freedom necessarily endorses the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites; and furthermore, ALA and OIF do not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.



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