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Banned in Boston

September 28, 2009

In honor of the American Library Association’s National Banned Books Week this week, I’m resurrecting an old meme. This is a list of the top 100 most frequently challenged books between 1990 and 1999, plus the top ten most frequently challenged books from each year since then through 2008 (there is some overlap between the lists, which is why there aren’t 190 books on this list). Put an x in front of the one’s you’ve read and a star in front of the ones you want to read. How many have you read?

I haven’t read many myself, but many of the ones I have read were very important to me (Catcher in the Rye, Huckleberry Finn, Slaughterhouse 5, etc.). And while there are a fair number of them I don’t intend to read, a lot of that has to do with the target age. I’m not really in need of where do babies come from books. A number of books I think are dumb, but certainly not worthy of banning (Goosebumps, Captain Underpants). But some of these are downright puzzling. Where the Sidewalk Ends? Really?

x Scary Stories (Series), by Alvin Schwartz (these are some of the most popular books in AJ’s school library; all of the very dog-eared copies are usually checked out)

Daddy’s Roommate, by Michael Willhoite

xI Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

xThe Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

xThe Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

xOf Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck

xForever, by Judy Blume

xBridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson

Heather Has Two Mommies, by Leslea Newman

xThe Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger

*The Giver, by Lois Lowry

My Brother Sam is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex and Sexual Health, by Robie Harris

Alice (Series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Goosebumps (Series), by R.L. Stine (These books look dumb to me, but not ban-worthy)

xA Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck

xThe Color Purple, by Alice Walker

Sex, by Madonna

xEarth’s Children(Series), by Jean M. Auel (Not all of them, but I read Clan of the Cave Bear)

xThe Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson

xIn the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak

xThe Witches, by Roald Dahl

xA Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

The New Joy of Gay Sex, by Charles Silverstein

xGo Ask Alice, by Anonymous

The Goats, by Brock Cole

The Stupids (Series), by Harry Allard

Anastasia Krupnik (Series), by Lois Lowry

Final Exit, by Derek Humphry

xBlubber, by Judy Blume

Halloween ABC, by Eve Merriam

xJulie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane

The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison

What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters, by Lynda Madaras

Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

xThe Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

xThe Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton

The Pigman, by Paul Zindel

xTo Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier

xDeenie, by Judy Blume

xFlowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden

xBeloved, by Toni Morrison

The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar

Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat, by Alvin Schwartz

xHarry Potter (Series), by J.K. Rowling

Cujo, by Stephen King

xJames and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

xA Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein (Really? What on earth for? Subversive behavior? Excessive silliness?)

xOrdinary People, by Judith Guest

American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis

xBrave New World, by Aldous Huxley

Sleeping Beauty Trilogy, by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard

Asking About Sex and Growing Up, by Joanna Cole

What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons, by Lynda Madaras

The Anarchist Cookbook, by William Powell

xAre You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

Boys and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy

Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly

Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher

Killing Mr. Griffin, by Lois Duncan

Fade, by Robert Cormier

Guess What?, by Mem Fox

xSlaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut

xLord of the Flies, by William Golding

xNative Son by Richard Wright

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Fantasies, by Nancy Friday

Curses, Hexes and Spells, by Daniel Cohen

On My Honor, by Marion Dane Bauer

*The House of Spirits, by Isabel Allende

Jack, by A.M. Homes

Arizona Kid, by Ron Koertge

Family Secrets, by Norma Klein

Mommy Laid An Egg, by Babette Cole

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo A. Anaya

xWhere Did I Come From?, by Peter Mayle

The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline Cooney

xCarrie, by Stephen King

The Dead Zone, by Stephen King

xThe Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

xSong of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez

Private Parts, by Howard Stern

xWhere’s Waldo?, by Martin Hanford (Again, what on earth for?)

xSummer of My German Soldier, by Bette Greene

Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume

xLittle Black Sambo, by Helen Bannerman

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett

Running Loose, by Chris Crutcher

Sex Education, by Jenny Davis

Jumper, by Steven Gould

Christine, by Stephen King

The Drowning of Stephen Jones, by Bette Greene

xThat Was Then, This is Now, by S.E. Hinton

Girls and Sex, by Wardell Pomeroy

The Wish Giver, by Bill Brittain

Jump Ship to Freedom, by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause

Taming the Star Runner, by S.E. Hinton

Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor

Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture, by Michael Bellesiles

It’s So Amazing!: A Book About Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies and Families, by Robie Harris

King & King, by Linda de Haan

The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

What My Mother Doesn’t Know, buy Sonya Sones

Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher

Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Gossip Girls, by Cecily Von Ziegesar

The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler

*Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes

xHis Dark Materials (trilogy: The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) by Philip Pullman

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle

Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen

xThe Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini (This one is listed at the ALA site as banned because it’s “inappropriate for age.” I thought this was an adult book. I agree that the violence is tough to take, but so is life. Now if we could ban the war in Afghanistan, that would be something I’d stand behind. That is inappropriate for any age.)

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper

7 Comments leave one →
  1. freshhell permalink
    September 28, 2009 2:14 pm

    I’ve read 42 of these. Red and Dusty both love the Stupids series.

  2. September 28, 2009 2:44 pm

    I forgot to mention that I read 39. I’ll check out The Stupids on AJ’s behalf. I feel like he’s read something else by that author, but I’m not sure what.

  3. freshhell permalink
    September 28, 2009 2:52 pm

    The Stupids are written for Red’s age group – like the Dumb Bunnies. Very silly and not at all controversial but I’m not a Christian right-winger so what do I know?

  4. September 28, 2009 3:03 pm

    Well, if you need a how-babies-are-made or puberty book, the Robie Harris ones are great. I own three of them- various age material.

    The rest of the interesting ones do beg to be read; nothing like a book getting banned to make it appealing!

  5. readersguide permalink
    September 28, 2009 3:08 pm

    James and the Giant Peach?

  6. Ron permalink
    September 28, 2009 11:00 pm

    According to legend, Where’s Waldo contains a beach picture with a topless sunbather. I’ve not verified this.

  7. September 28, 2009 11:23 pm

    Hmm. Now I know what I’ll be doing if there’s a lull on my library shift on Friday, Jeanne. Readersguide, yeah, I’m not sure about that one either. On the ALA site, at least some of the books say why they were banned. Perhaps have a look there?
    Jill, I remember you’ve mentioned the Robie Harris before and I still need to track them down. Freshhell, I wonder if the Stupids get in just by virtue of their name.

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