The American Library Associated has published a list of the top 100 banned/challenged books from 2000-2009. Here’s the top 10:
- Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
- Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
- And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
- Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
- I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
- Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
- His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
- TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Apparently, I need to read controversial books a bit more, since the only ones I’ve read in the top 10 are the Harry Potter books, Of Mice and Men, and the His Dark Materials series.
Some interesting inclusions from the rest of the list:
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn comes in at #14. Still? After all these years, there’s still controversy. That by itself is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Go Twain.
- My Brother Sam Is Dead by James Lincoln Collier hit #27. What’s the deal with this one? This was one of my favorite books as a kid. I don’t know how many times I read it, and I don’t remember anything particularly controversial. Maybe I just wasn’t sheltered enough as a child.
- I have the same question with the Bridge To Terabithia at 28. Is this really controversy worthy?
- #35 on the other hand is one that I haven’t read, but the title alone probably explains the controversy: Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison.
- The fact that The Kite Runner comes in at #50 is just a shame. Sure there’s a pretty tough scene in the book, but can’t we get past that and appreciate the power of the story?
- The Junie B. Jones books (#71)? Really? Did we run out of things to complain about?
- And, of course, there’s the normal list of great literature that touched on difficult themes and therefore should be kept from our children: The Color Purple (17), Catcher in the Rye (19), To Kill a Mockingbird (21), Brave New World (36), Fahrenheit 451 (69), and The Handmaid’s Tale (88).
I could keep going. There’s some great literature on this list. (It also looks like there’s some real garbage, but I can’t comment on books I haven’t read). Since I obviously haven’t read everything on the list, I’d be curious to know what books you think are on here that kids really should be reading.