The Most Challenged Library Books of 2010


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — And Tango Makes Three, a book about two male penguins starting a family in New York’s Central Park Zoo, was 2010’s most frequently challenged library book, according to the American Library Association.

The book, a mainstay on the ALA’s annual list since it was first published in 2005, reclaimed the top spot after placing second in 2008. According to the ALA, the book has been challenged “dozens of times” for being unsuitable for its targeted age group, holding certain "religious viewpoints" and advocating homosexuality.

Last year’s most challenged book, the Internet Girls Series by Lauren Myracle, whose titles include ttyl, ttfn, l8r and g8r, dropped off of the list entirely.

Also conspicuously missing from this year’s list were frequent offenders like Alice Walker’s The Color Purple, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Robert Cormier’s The Chocolate War.

The classics were replaced by several contemporary titles, including The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie - a semi-autobiographical account of a Native American’s transition from a reservation to an all-white high school, Twilight by Stephanie Meyers and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

The ALA has released a list of the most frequently challenged library books as part of a larger report on U.S. libraries since 2001. Rankings are based off of reports received by the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom on book challenges from librarians, teachers, concerned individuals and press reports across the U.S.

A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint that is filed with a library or school to request that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness. Last year, the ALA’s office received 348 reports.  But while the ALA may collect the complaints, it doesn’t put much stock in them.

“While we firmly support the right of every reader to choose or reject a book for themselves or their families, those objecting to a particular book should not be given the power to restrict other readers’ right to access and read that book,” Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, said in a press release.

The 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010 are below:

  1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
  5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  6. Lush by Natasha Friend
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
  8. Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By In America by Barbara Ehrenreich
  9. Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
  10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

What tomes are likely to disappear from shelves? Find out in MainStreet’s roundup of the most stolen library books.

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