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banned/challenged books of the 90s

I have a few minutes this morning, so...

Following are the most banned and challenged (whatever that means) books from 1990-2000. X marks the ones I've read. Comments follow those I'm familiar with.

( ) Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz

( ) Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite

(X) I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

( ) The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier

(X) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

( ) Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

( ) Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling

( ) Forever by Judy Blume

(X) Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

( ) Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

(X) Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman

( ) My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

( ) The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

(X) The Giver by Lois Lowry

( ) It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris

(X) Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine

Why? Don't want the kids getting scared?

( ) A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck

( ) The Color Purple by Alice Walker

( ) Sex by Madonna

( ) Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel

(X) The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

(X) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

You should read Madeleine's commentary on people who criticize/ban her work--and Wrinkle is just the tip of the iceberg.

(X) Go Ask Alice by Anonymous

( ) Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers

( ) In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

( ) The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard

( ) The Witches by Roald Dahl

( ) The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein

(X) Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry

Why on earth???

( ) The Goats by Brock Cole

( ) Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane

(X) Blubber by Judy Blume

Unfortunately, Judy Blume was controversial in the 80s as well.

( ) Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan

( ) Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam

( ) We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier

( ) Final Exit by Derek Humphry

( ) The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

Oh, now this is amusing. I haven't read the book, but Ms. Atwood is a middle school teacher if I remember correctly!

( ) Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George

( ) The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

( ) What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents &
Daughters by Lynda Madaras

It's stupid to ban a basic preteen anatomy book. But it seems that some people don't want anything in the library that might expose children to their "private parts."

(X) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

How sad... It teaches some very painful truths about racism... But let's not have any racism or rape, etc, in the school.

( ) Beloved by Toni Morrison

( ) The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

( ) The Pigman by Paul Zindel

( ) Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard

( ) Deenie by Judy Blume

(X) Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes

Why? Because it supposedly casts people with developmental disabilities in a bad light?

( ) Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden

( ) The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar

( ) Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz

(X) A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Why? Because Silverstein has a negative personal history? What on earth is wrong with his poetry?

( ) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

( ) Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)

( ) Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole

( ) Cujo by Stephen King

( ) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

( ) The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell

( ) Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

( ) Ordinary People by Judith Guest

( )American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis

( )What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons
by Lynda Madaras

It's stupid to ban a basic preteen anatomy book. But it seems that some people don't want anything in the library that might expose children to their "private parts."

(X) Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

As I mentioned, Blume was controversial in the 80s. She dares to write about *gasp* real life things like being fat, starting one's period, etc. In this particular book, she does it in a child's attempt at prayers--and it's not necessarily reverent. But then what child's prayers are reverent at age 11? Let's be real (not realistic). Mine weren't. I needed a real God who cared about me and washed me up clean when I got hurt every day, not a plastic one who looked pretty and only cared about me if I did all the right things and talked just right. Ms. Blume's book is certainly not a guide for how to pray; but I don't see anything wrong with reading it and helping a child know that yes, it's ok to talk to God about her period (because it is).

( )Crazy Lady by Jane Conly

( )Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher

( )Fade by Robert Cormier

( )Guess What? by Mem Fox

( )The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende

(X) The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney

I can't figure out why this would be banned/challenged. It deals with the aftermath of a girl's kidnapping and subsequently being raised by parents who adopted her unaware that she was being sold. Are people afraid that children might think they had been kidnapped and sold? It actually has happened in rare instances.

( ) Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut

<(X) Lord of the Flies by William Golding

Unfortunately, like many of these, I can understand the objection. There is a lot of violence in the book, and the ending is horrific. I was 15 when I read it, and I had nightmares afterward. But I have nightmares after reading things as an adult. There was a lot worth reading in the book, too, and even at 15 I understood the deep stuff in it. I wouldn't have wanted it banned.

( )Native Son by Richard Wright

( )Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday

( )Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen

( )Jack by A.M. Homes

( )Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya

( ) Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle

(X) Carrie by Stephen King

Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume

On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer

( )Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge

( )Family Secrets by Norma Klein

( )Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole

The Dead Zone by Stephen King

(X) The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison

( )Always Running by Luis Rodriguez

( )Private Parts by Howard Stern

Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene

Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman

Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

( )Running Loose by Chris Crutcher

( )Sex Education by Jenny Davis

( )The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene

( )Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy

( ) How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

( ) View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts

( ) The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

( ) The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney

( ) Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

I mentioned Madeleine L'Engle's commentary on her critics... It pretty much sums up my views about banned/challenged books. I'll dig it out later and post it. I'm running out of time, and I still want to post an update. I just wanted to circulate the list. Thanks, gypsymommy, for getting it started.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 23rd, 2006 12:12 pm (UTC)
Thank you for posting this. It's been interesting reading, especially from an Aussie perspective. I'll have to see if I can find our equivalent of this list.

I'm astounded by the presence of some of the books on this list. That's mostly because the ones I've read are invariably books I remember vividly - they touched my life and my world views so deeply.

Interesting to note two things...

Firstly, 'controversial' children's and teen fiction seem to be popular on this list. Growing up I was a huge fan of both Blume and Cormier (he writes a lot of psychological thrillers which are sometimes violent in the vein of 'Lord of the Flies'; I would say they're aimed at the upper end of the high school age range) and I'm sure I'd be a different person for not having read them. Kids have the right to be presented with harsh realities and to be scared out of their wits if they so choose, but sometimes I think adults forget that in a drive to protect them. Or maybe adults are not comfortable with the idea that their supervision is a better solution than an outright ban that threatens a pluralistic society. I get that; being responsible for a child's understanding of the world is a big thing after all.

The second thing I wanted to note was the presence of several dystopian books which are essentially about close government control and censorship (Handmaid's Tale and Brave New World). Either somebody doesn't have a sense of irony or they know something they're not telling us!
Aug. 23rd, 2006 06:45 pm (UTC)
It always amazes me! Book banning is riduculous in this day and age. It's sad really. And they call the USA the land of the "free."

Thanks for posting!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )


Sarah Blake LaRose
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