This month the American Library Association updated its list of frequently challenged books for the 2011 year, and one wildly popular novel is making its way up the rankings of this infamous list.
This month the American Library Association updated its list of frequently challenged books for the 2011 year, and one wildly popular novel is making its way up the rankings of this infamous list. The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, which first appeared at number five of Top 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books in 2010, is now third on the list for attempts to remove its contents from school curriculum and library bookshelves. The complaints against the books include text that is anti-ethnic and anti-family, insensitivity, offensive language, occult scenes, and violence.
Despite First Amendment protection, banning or attempting to challenge books has a long history, with many cases even making it to the US Supreme Court. As the American Library Association explains: "books usually are challenged with the best intentions—to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information." Science fiction and fantasy books often contain these themes that some find questionable, whether it's alien life forms, magical powers, or mystical worlds. In honor of Banned Books week, we're rounding up the most challenged science fiction and fantasy books according to the ALA. Browse the list below!
- Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling — The stories of the wizarding world are seen by challengers to have occult and violent themes.
- Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer — Its movie stars may provoke pandemonium, but critics of the book say it's too sexually explicit.
- His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman — The series beginning with The Golden Compass is often decried for its anti-religious viewpoints.
- The Giver by Lois Lowry — Despite the book's message of freedom of choice, criticisms are made for the fictional dystopia's bleak family outlook.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley — Offensive language, racism, and insensitivity are often cited in challenges to the future dystopian novel.
- Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury — The tale of a future world where the printed word is banned and systemically burned was criticized for offensive language.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle — Children's search through space and time for their vanished father is often challenged for the inclusion of supposed witches.
Follow the break for more challenged books of the last 20 years.