book bans

Top Ten Challenged Books of 2016:

Out of 323 challenges reported to the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom, the Top Ten Most Challenged Books of 2016 are

  1. This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
    This young adult graphic novel, winner of both a Printz and a Caldecott Honor Award, was restricted, relocated, and banned because it includes LGBT characters, drug use, and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes.
  2. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
    Parents, librarians, and administrators banned this Stonewall Honor Award-winning graphic novel for young adults because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.
  3. George written by Alex Gino
    Despite winning a Stonewall Award and a Lambda Literary Award, administrators removed this children’s novel because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels.”
  4. I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
    This children’s picture book memoir was challenged and removed because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints.
  5. Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
    Included on the National Book Award longlist and designated a Stonewall Honor Book, this young adult novel was challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.
  6. Looking for Alaska written by John Green
    This 2006 Printz Award winner is a young adult novel that was challenged and restricted for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation.”
  7. Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
    Considered to be sexually explicit by library staff and administrators, this compilation of adult comic books by two prolific award-winning artists was banned and challenged.
  8. Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
    This collection of adult short stories, which received positive reviews from Newsweek and the New York Times, was challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive.”
  9. Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
    This children’s book series was challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author.
  10. Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
    One of seven New York Times Notable Children’s Books and a Printz Honor recipient, this young adult novel was challenged for offensive language.

Based on the ALA’s Banned & Challenged Classics list, which can be found here: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/classics

1. The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
3. The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
4. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
5. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
6. Ulysses, by James Joyce
7. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
8. The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding
9. 1984, by George Orwell
10. Lolita, by Vladmir Nabokov
11. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
12. Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
13. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
14. Animal Farm, by George Orwell
15. The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
16. As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner
17. A Farewell to Arms, by Ernest Hemingway
18. Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
19. Invisible Man, by Ralph Ellison
20. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
21. Gone with the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell
22. Native Son, by Richard Wright
23. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
24. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
25. For Whom the Bell Tolls, by Ernest Hemingway
26. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
27. Go Tell it on the Mountain, by James Baldwin
28. All the King’s Men, by Robert Penn Warren
29. The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien
30. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
31. Lady Chatterley’s Lover, by D.H. Lawrence
32. A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess
33. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
34. In Cold Blood, by Truman Capote
35. The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie
36. Sophie’s Choice, by William Styron
37. Sons and Lovers, by D.H. Lawrence
38. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut
39. A Separate Peace, by John Knowles
40. Naked Lunch, by William S. Burroughs
41. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
42. Women in Love, by D.H. Lawrence

“...Trois, deux, un… here I come,” Jack called out as he uncovered his eyes.

The living room was predictably empty even though Jack had half expected Annie to default to her usual spot which, was to hide behind the window drapes with her feed sticking out the bottom. Her understanding of object permanence was endearingly hilarious and adorable.

Jack checked behind the couch first to see if she had wedged herself in the space, but when she wasn’t there, he wandered into the hallway, making his way towards the closet in the front hall. It had become Annie’s second favourite hiding place ever since she discovered she could drag her blankets into there to make a fort. Unfortunately for Jack, it was also vacant except for a few jackets and hangers.

“Annnn-ie,” he called out, listening for the tell-tale giggles, but all he could hear was the pitter-patter of rain outside and the distant hum of the refrigerator. After a quick sweep of the main floor, Jack went upstairs to her room, but like the other spots he’d already checked, it was conspicuously empty.

A trickle of fear ran down his spine as he hurried downstairs to confirm that the front, back, and patio doors were all still locked. She was still somewhere in the house, at least, but it was little reassurance as Jack started to realize just how many tiny nooks and crannies a toddler could potentially hide in.

“Annie, come out! Papa’s done playing.” His brain unhelpfully supplied him with flashes of horrifying scenarios, and Jack had to check the laundry room twice to reassure himself that Annie hadn’t trapped herself in the washer or the dryer.

He circled around downstairs again with little luck. “You can have ice cream if you come out.”

He was just about to give up and call Bitty in a full-blown panic when he heard soft shuffling coming from the pantry. Jack quickly pressed the ‘end’ button before the call had a chance to connect.

He dashed into the kitchen and opened the pantry door to find Annie sitting on the floor with an opened package of chocolate chip cookies in her lap. She beamed up at Jack and waved a cookie at him . “Papa!”

“Oh, thank god,” Jack breathed in relief as he quickly scooped her up.

“Found me, Papa!” she shouted delightedly, patting Jack’s face with sticky, chocolate-y hands.

“Don’t ever do that to me again,” he admonished.

“Again! Again!” she crowed.

“No, not again,” Jack said firmly as he brushed the crumbs from her shirt. This was the last time he was ever going to play hide-and-go-seek, if he could help it. He gave her a big smacking kiss on her forehead. “Let’s get you cleaned up.” Then, he added conspiratorially, “And let’s not tell Daddy I lost you for fifteen minutes there, okay?”

Annie’s only response was to giggle at him before cramming the remainder of the cookie in her mouth.

Thanks for reading! More of my writing here!

I’ve successfully sat down to write SIXTY days in a row! Slowly but surely writing my novel. The Scrivener App on my iPad makes such a difference, and the word tracker is both helpful and aesthetically pleasing. 

Here’s a fun excerpt from Terry’s 2001 interview with Daniel Handler, AKA Lemony Snicket, the author of the Series of Unfortunate Events books: 

TERRY GROSS: Have you run into any parents, teachers or librarians who object to either the tone or the content of your books?

DANIEL HANDLER: Not nearly as many as I thought I would. I really thought that there would just be an overwhelming wave of outrage. And instead, there’ve just been a few isolated complaints that I’ve heard. We were banned in one school district in Decatur, Ga. I’ll always have that. They can’t take that away from me.

GROSS: On what grounds were you banned?

HANDLER: Well, I hate to get too catty about Decatur, Ga., but they were very concerned in The Bad Beginning that Count Olaf wants to marry Violet, who is a distant relative. And this strikes me as something that, without being too stereotypical about the South – that perhaps Decatur, Ga., has heard of before, let’s just say.

And, also, I’m at a loss for how to construct a villain who isn’t doing villainous things. If Count Olaf were only doing things that no one would object to, then he really wouldn’t be much of a villain. So I’m somewhat nonplussed by that kind of criticism, that, ‘Boy, Count Olaf is sure a terrible person.’ And so I always have to write back and say, ‘Well, yes. Yes, he is. He sure is. Let’s catch him.’ 

And a woman once in in Oregon came up to me at a bookstore and said, ‘You know, in one of your books, you teach that it is sometimes necessary to lie. And that seems like a very disturbing lesson to me. Can you name one time when it would be absolutely necessary to lie?’ And I was so happy that the answer came to me right away, instead of, you know, as it usually does when people say something to you. And then you think three days later, that’s what I should’ve said. Instead, it came right away. And I was able just to turn to her and say, ‘Nice sweater.’ 

The TV series based on Snicket’s books is now streaming on Netflix. It stars Neil Patrick Harris as Count Olaf. Here’s what our TV critic David Bianculli had to say about it. 

I’ve had friends say that I should work in the Film Bureau, because then that institution would become more tolerant. I tell them that it would only make me a worse person. If you have a guard at the gate, then the guard becomes oppressive. It doesn’t have anything to do with the person; it’s the system, the environment.
— 

Jiang Wen on censorship               

interviewed in Oracle Bones: A Journey through Time in China by Peter Hessler

More Unusual Questions for your Muse

🦇- If your muse had wings, would they be feathered and bird-like, leathery bat-like wings, or insect-like fairy or butterfly wings?
🙊- How good are they at keeping secrets?
🎖- Is your muse the “forgive and forget” type or do they hold grudges?
⚖️- If your muse had superpowers, what would they be?
📐- Did your muse get an education? What was their best subject in their studies?
🖋- If your muse was an author/poet, what kind of stories would they write about?
📕- What “Banned Books” could you see your muse reading?
🔖- When they shop, does the price or product matter more?
🐶- If your muse was forced to get a pet, what would they get?
✌️-How often did they get into trouble as a kid?
⭐️- What’s their favorite constellation in the night sky?
🍼- Would your muse raise an abandoned orphan they found or opt to relocate them to an orphanage instead?
🏄‍♀️- What kind of leisurely sports do they partake in on their downtime?
💐- What are their favorite flowers?
👑- How would your muse react if they suddenly found out that they were the long-lost heir to a rich kingdom?
👒- If your muse were to take someone on a first date, where would they go and how would they behave?
💥- if Your muse wakes up with complete amnesia, how would they react? How scared would they be? What caused it?
🍳- What does your muse’s typical breakfast, lunch, and dinner look like after their larder has been fully replenished?
🎣- Would your muse go fishing for any reason? Would they catch-and-eat or catch-and-release?
🎼- What part in a choir would your muse sing? Soprano (½), Bass, Tenor, or Alto?
🎬- Pick three movies you could see your muse watching (and enjoying)
🎨- Find two famous pieces of artwork you think your muse would enjoy.

“That’s the problem. We let people say stuff, and they say it so much that it becomes okay to them and normal for us. What’s the point of having a voice if you’re gonna be silent in those moments you shouldn’t be?”
Angie Thomas, The Hate U Give

6

The Beat Poetry Museum in San Francisco, California.

I fell in love with this place on my trip to California in May, and talked to some of the most interesting and amazing people. Can’t wait to go back one day.