Atticus Books author Matt Mullins (Three Ways of the Saw, February 2012) reads a selection from Robert Cormier’s young adult novel, The Chocolate War (first published in 1974) in celebration and support of Banned Books Week’s Virtual Read-Out.
Launched in 1982, Banned Books Week celebrates the freedom to read. More than 11,000 books have been challenged or banned since 1982.
“Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.” —Article 3, Library Bill of Rights
The 10 most frequently banned and challenged titles of 2010, as reported by The Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) of the American Library Association (ALA), were:
1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
5. The Hunger Games (series) by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group
7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint
10. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group
OIF recorded a total of 348 challenges in 2010. For every challenge reported to OIF, however, the ALA estimates that there are 4 or 5 challenges that go unreported. Be sure to check out the ALA challenges to library materials page for more information on how to report a challenge and get support from the Office for Intellectual Freedom.