CNN: ‘Captain Underpants’ tops list of challenged books

CNN Living
By Emanuella Grinberg and CNN Library, CNN
September 24, 2013

CaptainUnderpants(CNN) — What would you do if you went to the library in search of “The Adventures of Captain Underpants” for your child, or to re-read Toni Morrison’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel “Beloved” only to find that the book had been pulled from the shelves because another patron objected to its content?

It happens in the United States more often than many realize. At least 464 formal complaints were filed in 2012 seeking to remove books from libraries or schools, according to the American Library Association, a sponsor of Banned Books Week, which runs September 22-28. Its mission is to celebrate the freedom to read and highlight the pitfalls of censorship.

The annual event started in 1982, the same year the Supreme Court ruled that students’ First Amendment rights were violated when Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” and eight other books were removed from school libraries. Despite the legal precedent, schools and libraries still receive formal challenges to remove books from library shelves or nix them from reading lists to protect children from material some see as inappropriate.

Just this month, a North Carolina school board voted to ban Ralph Ellison’s “Invisible Man” based on complaints from the parent of an 11th-grader. The board is reportedly scheduled to reconsider its decision.

Read the the rest of the article:


Huffington Post: 7 Reasons Your Favorite Books Were Banned
by Maddie Crum
September 22, 2013

BBW_Read_200x200Risqué-averse readers, cover your ears. Sunday marked the beginning of this year’s National Banned Books Week, for which libraries and bookstores across the country will promote and celebrate commonly censored titles. The organization calls its cause a “celebration of the freedom to read.”

According to, 11,300 books have been challenged since 1982, when the event was launched. What constitutes a “banned” book, as opposed to a “challenged” book? The American Library Association explains:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.

Last year’s most frequently challenged or banned titles included a mix of Young Adult books, literary classics and romance novels, such as “Gossip Girl,” “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Fifty Shades of Grey.”

This year’s list includes a few stalwarts, such as Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and Barbara Ehrenreich’s “Nickel and Dimed,” and a few titles that have recent or forthcoming film adaptations, such as Orson Scott Card’s “Ender’s Game” and Stephen Chbosky’s “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”

So why are these stories, many of which are venerated award-winners, being scorned, and in some cases, pulled from shelves? Here are some of the reasons that have been cited:…

Read the full article:

Forbes: Five Banned Books That You Should Read (That You Probably Haven’t)

by Alex Knapp
September 23, 2013

Hadden,MarkThis week is Banned Books Week, where librarians and other organizations highlight the books that have been subjected to threats of censorship – and actual censorship – in schools, libraries and nations around the globe. Among the frequently challenged books include classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain and popular books like The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Many are books that you really ought to read, like Cat’s Cradle or Harry Potter. But then, you probably have read them – either because your school made you or because all your friends pushed them on you.

In between, though, are lots of books that you might not have heard of – or, at the very least, heard of but weren’t required to read when you were in school. With that in mind, I’ve created a list of five challenged or banned books that you probably haven’t read. Celebrate Banned Books Week by picking one up and giving it a read!

Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story by Lisa Westberg Peters

The Curious Incident of the Dog In The Night-time by Mark Haddon

Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems by Galileo Galilei


The Epic of Gilgamesh

Find out why you should read these books (and why they were challenged or banned) in the full article:

Q&A: Banned Books and the Coralville Public Library


What are banned and challenged books?

Banned books are books that have been removed from schools or libraries because someone objected to their content.

Challenged books are books that people have tried to have removed from libraries or schools.


Why do people want to ban books?

People sometimes object to the content of a book, or some of the content, and they think other people shouldn’t be able to read it.

They might object to violence, language, sexual content, religious content, racism, or almost anything else you can think of.

For instance. . .

There are people who want to ban some dictionaries because they define swear words.

Some people think that Junie B. Jones books shouldn’t be in schools or libraries because Junie doesn’t use correct grammar.

Some people object to fantasy books because they believe they encourage witchcraft.

Some people object to sex education books because they think they are too graphic, or that children shouldn’t be taught about sex.


Why is the library doing this display? Does the Coralville Public Llibrary ban books?

No, we don’t ban books! We recognize Banned Books Week every year because we want to draw attention to the fact that there are people who want to ban books, and we want to celebrate our right to read freely. We think the library should be a place to explore all kinds of ideas.

We do think that parents should be the ultimate judges of what their children read. We encourage you to talk to your kids about books and about what is appropriate for them. We just don’t think that anyone has the right to make that decision for anyone else’s family.

Are there books that have been banned or challenged in Iowa?

Yes! There’s a poster by the ladder display that shows some of the books that have been challenged in Iowa libraries.
What’s with the bookmarks in these books?

We’ve put bookmarks in many of the books in our collection that have been banned or challenged somewhere. We’d like to get your feedback. What do you think about the book? Please feel free to leave us some comments and leave the bookmark in the book when you return it. We’ll be featuring some of your comments (anonymously) on our Facebook page and our Banned Books Week blog (you can find links to both on our website).


A few other factoids

The American Library Association has been sponsoring Banned Books Week since 1982.

It’s estimated that less than 20% of book challenges are reported.

Local author Dori Butler has a book that was challenged in Texas just last year! It’s called My Mom’s Having a Baby, and we have it here at the library.


The ALA About page is another good place to read a bit more, if you’re interested:

Need Volunteers – Live Banned Book Display

IMG_1138During Banned Books Week (Sept. 22-28) the Coralville Public Library will have a Live Banned Book Display. We are asking for volunteers to sit in our display and (silently) read a banned book. Patrons can sign up for ½ hour time slots, and are welcome to take multiple slots. The sign-up sheet is at the circulation desk. You can stop-in (1401 5th Street), call (319.248.1850), or e-mail ( to find out what times are open and get your name on the list. There will be many banned or challenged books in the display from which to choose, or you can bring their own banned book.

When do we need volunteers? All day, while the library is open, from Sept. 22-28.
Monday-Thursday: 10:00 AM -8:30 PM
Friday: 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday: 9:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Sunday: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Timeline: 30 Years of Liberating Literature

Since 1982, Banned Books Week has rallied librarians, booksellers, authors, publishers, teachers, and readers of all types to celebrate and defend the freedom to read. As we commemorate 30 years of Banned Books Week and enter our 31st year of protecting readers’ rights, ALA is pleased to unveil this timeline of significant banned and challenged books. Timeline powered by Tiki-Toki.

All information sourced from the 2010 Banned Books Week resource guide, Banned Books: Celebrating Our Freedom to Read, edited by Robert P. Doyle (ALA, 2010); the Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom; and additional content supplied by Angela Maycock, Assistant Director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

Content of this post is from the American Library Association’s office for intellectual Freedom
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