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Thursday, 15th April 2010

New From ALA: The Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009; Lauren Myracle’s Young Adult Series "ttyl" Tops List

The American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom (OiF) has published its annual list of the most frequently challenged books.

From the Announcement:

Lauren Myracle’s best-selling young adult novel series "ttyl," the first-ever novels written entirely in the style of instant messaging, tops the American Library Association’s (ALA) Top Ten list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009.

Two books are new to the list: Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer and “My Sister’s Keeper” by Jodi Picoult.

Both Alice Walker’s “The Color Purple” and Robert Cormier’s “The Chocolate War” return after being dropped from the list in 2008.

“Even though not every book will be right for every reader, the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely are core American values,” said Barbara Jones, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom. “Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read.”

During 2009, the Office of Intellectual Freedom received 460 reports, "on efforts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves." OiF receives reports from many sources but most challenges are not reported. They estimate that their statistics reflect only 20-25% of challenges that actually take place in a public libraries, school's and school libraries.

The OIF receives reports of challenges in public libraries, schools, and school libraries from a variety of sources. However, a majority of challenges go unreported. OIF estimates that their statistics reflect only 20-25% of the challenges that actually occur.

Define

A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness.

Here's the 2009 Top Ten List

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

Note: from ResourceShelf: Amazon.com offers "preview access" to ttyl (paperback) through "Look Inside the Book". You can browse and/or search up to a limit determined by the publisher. The book is also in the Google Books database but the preview feature is not available for this title (either original or reprint).

2. “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. “To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. “Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. “My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. “The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. “The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier

Additional Notes

Seven titles were dropped from the list, including: His Dark Materials Trilogy (Series) by Philip Pullman (Political Viewpoint, Religious Viewpoint, Violence); Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz (Occult/Satanism, Religious Viewpoint, Violence); "Bless Me, Ultima" by Rudolfo Anaya (Occult/Satanism, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Violence); Gossip Girl (Series) by Cecily von Ziegesar (Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group); "Uncle Bobby’s Wedding" by Sarah S. Brannen (Homosexuality, Unsuited to Age Group); "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini (Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group); and "Flashcards of My Life" by Charise Mericle Harper (Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group).

Also new this year is an updated list of the top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade (2000 – 2009). Topping the list is the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling, frequently challenged for various issues including occult/Satanism and anti-family themes.

Source: Office of Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association


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