What do Harper Lee, J.D. Salinger, Alice Walker and Stephenie Meyer (pictured left) have in common?
They’re all authors of works on the ALA’s Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 list, released yesterday by the American Library Association. According to the ALA, a challenge is defined as a “formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed or restricted because of content or appropriateness.”
New to the list, Meyer’s über-popular Twilight series came in at number five, due to it being “sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and [having] offensive language.”
Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, which explores teenage sexuality and drug use, among other topics, is number three. Coming in at number two, it’s And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson, a children’s book based on the true story of two male penguins in Central Park Zoo that became a couple and raised an egg together.
The number one challenged book for 2009? The ttyl series by Lauren Myracle, due to “nudity, sexual explicitness, offensive language and drugs.” While the thought of reading hundreds of pages in text/IM speak is rather offensive, there’s no need to keep these books off the shelves. As the fans might say, GTFO, wannabe banners.
There were several books on the list that seem to always be there, including Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird, which challengers claim incites racism. (Way to completely miss the point, guys!) After a year off the list, Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War and Walker’s The Color Purple return, due to both being “sexually explicit” and “unsuited to the age group.”
Let’s hear from you, Shelf Life readers. Are you surprised by the list? How should libraries and schools handle these challenges?