Thursday, September 28, 2006

The company we keep

You may have heard by now that this is Banned Book Week, (a phrase challenged by Sheryl at Paper Napkin, incidentally, who perfers the term "Disabled books." Sheryl was also the first one to draw my attention to the topic.)

We've all heard news reports about a conservative school district here or there getting up in arms about one book or another, so that's nothing new. Someone's always going to have a problem; in fact, I would go so far as to say that any given book on the planet could precipitate complaints from someone, somewhere. It's the nature of humans. We have different tastes, beliefs, ideals, philosophies. We disagree.

Still, take a gander at the American Library Association's 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books which, in this case, covers the 1990–2000 period. That's a decade. Not some random book that got under some random parent's skin and proceeded to have a stink made about it. These are being challenged again and again, across the country.

I don't care how conservative you are, if you are a literate, English-speaking adult, I promise you two things:

  • You have read a good number of these books yourself
  • You will find something on here to make you go "Huh?"
So here you go. The ones that are linked are ones that I've read myself. The starred entries were particular favorites at the time I read each of them (not just favorites among the entries on this list)
  1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
  2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
  3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain *
  6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
  8. Forever by Judy Blume
  9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
  12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
  13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
  14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
  16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
  17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
  18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  19. Sex by Madonna
  20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel: *
  21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
  22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle *
  23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
  24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
  25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
  27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
  28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
  29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
  30. The Goats by Brock Cole
  31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
  32. Blubber by Judy Blume
  33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
  34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
  35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
  36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
  37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George *
  39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
  41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
  45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
  46. Deenie by Judy Blume
  47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
  49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
  50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
  51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein *
  52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
  54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
  55. Cujo by Stephen King
  56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
  58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
  60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
  61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
  62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume *
  63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
  64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
  65. Fade by Robert Cormier
  66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
  67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
  68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
  69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  71. Native Son by Richard Wright
  72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
  73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
  74. Jack by A.M. Homes
  75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
  76. Where Did I Come From by Peter Mayle
  77. Carrie by Stephen King
  78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
  79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
  80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
  81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
  82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
  83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
  84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
  86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
  87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
  88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
  89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
  90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
  91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
  92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
  93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
  94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
  95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
  96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
  98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
  99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
  100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
Where's Waldo has been challenged enough times to make it onto the top 100 list for an entire decade. Let's all reflect on that.


lisa September 28, 2006 7:26 PM  

Are you sure you didn't read Bridge to Terabithia? I think of it as one of the books that you read as a kid. I could be wrong about that one, but it's funny because even though I really didn't read books when we were kids, I remember those books you read. I don't know what they're about, but I remember the names. I can even picture the cover of A Wrinkle in Time. Interesting that those books left an impression on me at a time in my life when I wasn't a reader.

Jennifer September 28, 2006 8:31 PM  

Nope, I just checked a synopsis and I can pretty confidently say that I never read it. Or, for that matter, even heard of it until seeing this list. Maybe one of your friends was reading it in school?

I still have that copy of A Wrinkle in Time.

Dad September 29, 2006 1:11 PM  

Glancing over that list, I guess we (Mom and I) contributed to your delinquency. I remember stopping at a bookstore in Kamloops, BC, on our western trip, and buying you a copy of The Clan of the Cave Bear (or maybe it was The Valley of the Horses.)

And I remember that we had In the Night Kitchen (with its full frontal nudity of the little boy.)

I hope we didn't warp you too badly.

mom October 04, 2006 8:25 PM  

I've read a fair number of the ones you have - even the children's ones. Perhaps I wanted to keep up with you.

I've also read Summer of My German Soldier, Kaffir Boy, Ordinary People, and Native Son from that list. Interesting what reading people will complain about, but how silent they keep regarding real life issues.

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