The Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2010


The American Library Association has tallied up the number of challenges made at libraries across the country in 2010, and, for the first time, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is among the top ten most challenged books. It comes in at number five on the list, and the reasons given by those who want the book banned include: sexually explicit (?!!), unsuited to age group, and violence. Collins herself isn’t too surprised by concerns about the violence. According to the Associated Press, she said:

“I’ve read in passing that people were concerned about the level of violence in the books,” Collins said of her dystopian trilogy that’s sold more than a million copies. “That’s not unreasonable. They are violent. It’s a war trilogy.

Number one on the list is the children’s picture book And Tango Makes Three. A popular target of book banners, it’s about two male penguins raising a baby penguin. The book is based on the true story of two penguins at New York’s Central Park Zoo.

Here’s the full list of 2010’s most frequently challenged books:

1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson

Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit

4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins

Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence

6. Lush by Natasha Friend

Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones 

Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich 

Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint

9. Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie

Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit

10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence

The ALA recorded 348 challenges in 2010. However, for every challenge reported, they estimate 4 or 5 go unreported. The define a challenge as an effort “to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.”

Are you surprised by any of the books on this year’s list? I think The Hunger Games was bound to make the list sooner or later, and I can totally understand why a parent would feel the book is too violent for their child. What I can’t understand is why someone wouldn’t just stop at preventing his/her own child from reading it. Why demand the book be banned from the library? By removing it from the library, they are preventing other people’s children from accessing the book. Why do they think they have to right to decide what everyone else’s children should or shouldn’t read? I’ll never understand that mindset. Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

Follow me on Twitter @kristendaemons

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