Why Are Books Challenged?People challenge books for many reasons, but the motivation behind a challenge is usually disagreement with the content of a book and a belief that it should not be available to certain members of the public.
Some Reasons Cited in Book Challenges:Offensive languageSexual content, nudity, and homosexualityRacism and sexismReligious viewpoint and occult/satanismViolenceUnsuited to age groupMost books are challenged for multiple reasons
Offensive Language Challenged due to language considered inappropriate for the target audiences, such as profanity or racial slurs. Some books challenged for offensive language include:The Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyFat Kid Rules the World by K. L. GoingThe Color Purple by Alice Walker
Sexual content, nudity, and homosexuality Challenged for its inclusion or description of sexual acts, nudity, or same-sex relations. Some books challenged for these reasons include:And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin RichardsonLush by Natasha FriendThe Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
Racism and Sexism Challenged for racist or sexist languages or depictions of racism or sexism. Books include:The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark TwainMy Sisters Keeper by Jodi PicoultWhale Talk by Chris CrutcherFallen Angels by Walter Dean MeyersWhat Mother Doesnt Know by Sonya Sones
Religious Viewpoint and Occult/Satanism Challenged for containing a specific religious message or for including occult themes, such as magic. Books challenged for these include:The Harry Potter series by J. K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsTwilight by Stephenie MayerHis Dark Materials trilogy by Philip PullmanScary Stories series by Alvin Shwartz
Violence Challenged for containing vivid depictions of or condoning/glorifying violence. Some books challenged for their violent content include:Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo AnayaThe Chocolate War by Robert CormierBridge to Terabithia by Katherine PatersonJulie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
Unsuited to Age GroupChallenged for containing content not consideredappropriate for the target age group of the book. Almost all the books on the American LibraryAssociations list of frequently challenged booksare challenged for this reason. This is due to themajority of book challenged being made to keep certain books out of the hands of children.
Who Challenges Books? Where?Weve establishes WHY books are challenged,but WHO is challenging them, and WHERE do they challenge?
Who Challenges Books? Where?About 60% of challenges are from concerned parents, but anyone can and has challenged books.The institutions most challenged are schools, followed by school libraries and public libraries.
Banning and K. L. GoingFat Kid Rules the World was unanimously banned by the school board from all Pickens County, SC schools, citing reasons of profanity, drug use, treatment of suicide, and sexual innuendo. This decision was made after a review committee voted 6-1 to retain the book at the middle school where the complaint was made. None of Goings other works have been banned, but her other novels do contain similar themes in regards to drugs, language, and sexuality.
Works Cited"Frequently challenged books of the 21st century | American Library Association." ALA | Home - American Library Association. American Library Association, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2012. <http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/21stcenturychall enged>."School District of Pickens County removes Fat Kid Rules the World from all school libraries ." Cnsrd Bks. cnsrdbks.com, n.d. Web. 5 May 2012. <www.cnsrdbks.com/news/school-district-of-pickens-county-removes-fat- kid-rules-the-world-from-all-school-libraries/>."Number of Challenges by Year, Reason, Initiator & Institution (1990 - 2010) | American Library Association." ALA | Home - American Library Association. American Library Association, n.d. Web. 5 May 2012. <http://www.ala.org/advocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/stats>.
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