Next year I will be part of a panel on censorship in children’s literature, so I decided now would be a good time to read everything I can on the subject. I’m sure I was invited to participate because I am an attorney (liberal!) who is Catholic (conservative!) working as a librarian (screwed!). They have no idea what to expect. I do. I expect I won’t have a word to say until three days after the fact, alone, probably in the shower. Then, and only then, will the witticisms, quips, and profound statements issue forth.
I’m in the research phase and still trying to figure out where exactly I stand on the issue. (Short answer: generally opposed to censorship, especially in high school; no middle school library needs erotica.) Funny enough, there are very few books on censorship in children’s literature. I bought this one and this one, but can’t find an opposing viewpoint.
While I read up on not-reading, here’s a list of the top ten frequently challenged books of 2015 according to The American Library Association. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (book club), did not make the list, though a Tennessee mom did give it her all. Bless her heart.
Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2015
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
- I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
- The Holy Bible
Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
- Habibi, by Craig Thompson
Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
- Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).