Friday, 1 September 2006

Book Burning 101

What do J.K. Rowling, Maurice Sendak, Toni Morrison, John Steinbeck and Maya Angelou have in common?

Over the past five years, they've all made it onto the book banners hit list in the U.S.

Every year, the American Library Association's Office of Intellectual Freedom receives hundreds of requests from parents, religious groups and other concerned citizens to remove books from the shelves of school and public libraries. The most frequent reasons given are sexual explicitness, offensive language and inappropriate content for the targeted age group.

None of the challenges were successful.

Among the extensive information provided by the ALA is a list of the 100 most frequently challenged books from 1990–2000. The Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz has the dubious honour of attracting the most negative attention. Accompanying it are such degenerate works as Flowers for Algernon (Daniel Keyes), James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl), To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Mark Twain), Of Mice and Men (John Steinbeck) and Where's Waldo (Martin Hanford). (I think they might have a point about Where's Waldo.)


Anonymous said...


Fortunately, the challenges were not successful. I got to read two of those you listed: To kill a mockingbird and Of Mice and Men.

You've got literary talent. I enjoy the titles, prose, and content of your postings.


Snail said...

Daniel Keye's Flowers for Algernon is a must-read too. It was published as a novella and won a Hugo award. Then it was re-written, published as a novel and won a Nebula award.

I won't spoil the story by telling you what happens but it's definitely worth reading.

Anonymous said...


I will get this when I browse in a bookstore in the US soon. I don't like buying on-line.