It's that magical time of year again, where we celebrate the wonder that is imagination, literature and progress through Banned Books Week.
Every year the American Library Association compiles a list of the year's most challenged pieces of fiction in an effort to reduce and ultimately eliminate censorship, and this year the theme is Young Adult lit (a personal fave around here, so squee!), meaning the top 10 list of the year's most fussed over (translation: gimme gimme gimme) books are instant teen TBR list toppers.
Consider 2015's awesome list:
1. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
2. "Persepolis" by Marjane Satrapi
3. "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison
4. "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini
5. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
6. "Drama" by Raina Telgemeier
7. "Chinese Handcuffs" by Chris Crutcher
8. "The Giver" by Lois Lowry
9. "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros
10. "Looking for Alaska" by John Green
These are the 10 books that are supposedly too dangerous for young and ~impressionable~ minds -- according to the
curmudgeons complainants who filed with libraries and schools to have the material removed for supposed inappropriateness -- but really, it's just a fan-bloody-tastic little reading list.
The Banned Books Week project has been going on for almost 15 years now (!!), so the folks at Entertainment Weekly scoured the archives to unearth a top 10-er of the most frequently challenged books in the history of BBW, and basically it boils down to an epic bookshelf order queue.
1. "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
This book has been one of the most-challenged titles for a whopping seven years due to its inclusion of homosexuality and the fact that challengers see it as boasting an "anti-family, religious viewpoint" which is unsuitable to its age group, but the fact is, this is an inspiring little tale about two male penguins in NYC who adopt their own little one and put "Happy Feet" to shame in the blissful penguin department.
2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier
This title finds itself on many high school reading lists because of its still-relevant depiction of the cliques, violence, and disassociation that unfortunately can affect an adolescent's life. But challengers didn't appreciate its inclusion of sexual content, language, and violence -- no matter how realistic.
3. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky
The relationship between Charlie and his family, friends, and self was fleshed out in devastating detail through this diary entry-style narrative, and the inclusion of sex, drugs, language and more upset enough people to get this one on the most-challenged list six different times.
4. "Captain Underpants" by Dav Pilkey
Toilet humor is only okay when you've reached full-blown adulthood, apparently. Pfft.
5. "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie
This riveting semi-autobiographical novel won awards for its candid look at the life of a youth on an American Indian reservation, but its public critics didn't appreciate the language and sexuality of the tale, among other issues.
6. "The Alice Mckinley" series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The "Alice" series was a prolific account of adolescence and womanhood, so, you know, there was way too much nudity and sex stuff for the kiddos, apparently (groan).
7. "TTYL" by Lauren Myracle
This Gen Y-specific narrative about the ins and outs of BFFness had way too many werdy derds, according to the four years worth of complaint piles it received.
8. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris and Michael Emberley
Sex ed in illustrated format? Sounds like a big "YES" to us, but of course people took issue with its inclusion of nudity, sex, abortion and homosexuality.
9. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou's epic autobiography about the harsh reality of bigotry, parental abandonment, and violence is anyone's idea of a classic ... except the people who filed this one into the "too much racism, language and violence" category in their complaints.
10. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins
The politically charged, violent dystopian hellscape within which Katniss Everdeen must take flight was challenged for its violence, "anti-ethnic, anti-family" viewpoints and general unsuitability for teens. Shrug.