Captain Underpants isn’t really the most dangerous man in America, is he? But the Captain Underpants books frequently are challenged by people who object to them and would like them to be removed from libraries.
Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read. Typically held during the last week of September, it highlights the value of free and open access to information. This year Banned Books Week is September 21-27. The week raises awareness that books can be challenged or banned, but also celebrates the fact that books most often remain on the shelves for people to choose to read. Libraries in particular support the freedom to read what we want to read.
I bet you would be surprised to learn some of the picture books that have been challenged.
- Winnie the Pooh and Charlotte’s Web (talking animals are an “insult to god.”)
- James and the Giant Peach (includes the word “ass”)
- Where the Wild Things Are (promotes witchcraft and supernatural events)
- Green Eggs and Ham (promotes homosexual seduction)
- The Three Little Pigs (pigs as food might offend the Muslim community)
I could go on and on. Check the American Library Associations’ Banned Book Week website for list of books that have been challenged. http://www.ala.org/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks
Here is a list of the most challenged books of 2013:
Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
- The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
- A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
- Bone (series), by Jeff Smith Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
So, celebrate your Freedom to Read!
Read a banned book!