The American Library Association just released its list of the top 10 “most frequently challenged books of 2011.” From The Hunger Games trilogy to Brave New World, see the bestsellers that parents and teachers have been trying to ban from the book shelves.
‘TTYL; TTFN; L8R,G8R’ (Series) by Lauren Myracle
The “Internet Girls” series, which started in 2005 with TTYL, is written entirely as instant messages among a group of friends. The series follows the girls from middle school to high school and deals with issues such as casual experimentation with sex, drugs, and alcohol—all while the girls use dirty words as they discuss their encounters. The first book in the series, TTYL, was banned from a town in Texas in 2008, after parents complained about the sex and profanity in the book. But author Lauren Myracle seems unfazed by the controversy. “My favorite comments come from girls who say, ‘I feel like you’ve given me a self-help book because my parents won’t talk about this.’ When I was a kid, I read Judy Blume to figure out what a hard-on was and what to do when you got your period, so when people say to me, ‘You’re this generation's Judy Blume,’ I am wildly honored by that,” she says.
‘The Color of Earth’ (Series) by Kim Dong Hwa
Kim Dong Hwa’s trilogy about a young girl coming into her womanhood in a small Korean village made it to the top 10 list for the first time this year. “The Color Trilogy” is a series of graphic novels about a girl growing up, and many people were troubled by the highly visual depictions of nudity and sex education.
‘The Hunger Games’ Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Even though the movie has made a fortune, it seems not everyone is quite so hungry for The Hunger Games. The trilogy was No. 5 on the list last year, but moved up to No. 3 this year. This year complaints about the book were harsh, including that it is anti-ethnic, anti-family, satanic, and violent. The trilogy’s author, Suzanne Collins, has said she is aware that “people were concerned about the level of violence in the books. That’s not unreasonable. They are violent. It’s a war trilogy."
‘My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy’ by Dori Hillestad Butler
Though it was first published in 2005, this educational children’s book made the list for the first time this year. It’s designed for children whose mothers become pregnant again. But it seems some parents thought it was a bit too graphic. According to the ALA, concerns included, “nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.”
‘The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian’ by Sherman Alexie
Sherman Alexie’s semi-autobiographical book about a young boy growing up on an Indian reservation who yearns for a better life, has previously been included on the list and made it again this year largely because of racism and offensive language. Alexie thinks the criticism of his book is overblown. “Almost every day, my mailbox is filled with handwritten letters from students—teens and pre-teens—who have read my YA book and loved it. I have yet to receive a letter from a child somehow debilitated by the domestic violence, drug abuse, racism, poverty, sexuality, and murder contained in my book,” he wrote last year.
‘Alice’ (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Alice series follows Alice McKinley from her childhood until she reaches the age of 18. Author Phyllis Reynolds Naylor plans to write 28 books altogether and since they deal with Alice’s teenage years, the books cover a variety of topics that some parents find objectionable and have often made the list in the past for nudity and profanity.
‘Brave New World’ by Aldous Huxley
Aldous Huxley’s legendary novel about a dystopian future is a longtime recipient of complaints and banning. It has been banned from a number of areas since it was first published. At one point it was outlawed for making promiscuous sex “look like fun.” Sex played a role this year as well, but complaints also included insensitivity, nudity, and racism.
‘What My Mother Doesn’t Know’ by Sonya Sones
What My Mother Doesn’t Know, a novel written in verse about a high-school girl’s coming of age, won praise when it debuted in 2001, even winning the ALA’s award for “best book for young adults.” But one poem in the book, “Ice Capades,” seemed to draw ire and criticism from all around. It describes a young girl who holds her bare chest against a cold windowpane to see an “amazing trick.” One angry parent complained to Sones, “Our young people should not have to be exposed to your erotic thoughts and feelings.”
‘Gossip Girl’ (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
The Young Adult books that spawned the hit television series follow an elite group of teenagers and their lives at a private school in Manhattan. This year it made the ALA list for its depiction of sex, drugs, and strong language. Von Ziegesar once said of the novels, “I always resented books that tried to teach a lesson, where the characters are too good: They don’t swear, they tell their mothers everything. I mean, of course I want to be the responsible mother who says, ‘Oh, there are terrible repercussions if you have sex, do drugs, and have an eating disorder!’ But the truth is, my friends and I dabbled in all of those things. And we all went to good colleges and grew up fine. And that’s the honest thing to say.”
‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ by Harper Lee
Harper Lee’s 1960 classic, To Kill a Mockingbird, is a frequent target for censors because of its strong language and racism. One ALA official once said of the book’s banning, “To say to young people, even to older people, that you can’t read these materials [is] a travesty because they’re missing out on some of the finest literature written in the U.S.”
Yet, Twilight is not on this list... And idgaf I loved the GG books with my entire being in HS.