See which books were most frequently challenged in American libraries in 2013 (12 items)

By Deseret News

April 20, 2014

The American Library Association released its 2014 State of America's Libraries report in April, along with the 2013 list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books.

A "challenge," according to the ALA, "is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness."

According to the ALA, there were 5,099 challenges reported to the Office for Intellectual Freedom from 2000 to 2009. Of these, 1,639 took place in school libraries, 1,811 were in classrooms, 1,217 were in public libraries, 114 were in college classes and 30 were in academic libraries, with the rest being made in places like prison or special libraries.

This is a look at the top 10 most frequently challenged books for 2013, along with a brief look at past challenges some of these same titles have faced:

1 of 12. Banned/challenged books from 1990-1999

Here's a look at the 10 books that led the ALA's top 100 banned/challenged books from 1990-1999 list:

1. "Scary Stories" (series), by Alvin Schwartz

2. "Daddy’s Roommate," by Michael Willhoite

3. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou

4. "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier

5. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain

6. "Of Mice and Men," by John Steinbeck

7. "Forever," by Judy Blume

8. "Bridge to Terabithia," by Katherine Paterson

9. "Heather Has Two Mommies," by Leslea Newman

10. "The Catcher in the Rye," by J.D. Salinger

2 of 12. Banned/challenged books from 2000-2009

Here's a look at the 10 books that led the ALA's top 100 banned/challenged books from 2000-2009 list:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

3. "The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier

4. "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell

5. "Of Mice and Men," by John Steinbeck

6. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou

7. "Scary Stories" (series), by Alvin Schwartz

8. "His Dark Materials" (series), by Philip Pullman

9. "ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r" (series), by Lauren Myracle

10. "The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky

3 of 12. Bone (series)

Title: Bone (series)

Author: Jeff Smith

Publishing date: 1991-2004

Synopsis: This comic book series follows the adventures of the three Bone cousins — Phoney Bone, Smiley Bone and Fone Bone.

Reasons for challenge: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

4 of 12. Bless Me Ultima

Title: Bless Me Ultima

Author: Rudolfo Anaya

Publishing date: 1972

Synopsis: This coming-of-age story focuses on Antonio Marez y Luna and his mentor, a curandera (woman folk healer) named Ultima.

Reasons for challenge: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

Also listed (2000-2013):
No. 5 - 2008

No. 32 on the top 100 banned/challenged books: 2000-2009 list

5 of 12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Title: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Author: Stephen Chbosky

Publishing date: The novel is written in letter format by Charlie, who is a wallflower, and tells of his experiences in high school as he is befriended by seniors Patrick and Samantha.

Synopsis: 1999

Reasons for challenge: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

Also listed (2000-2013):
No. 3 - 2009
No. 6 - 2008
No. 10 - 2007
No. 8 - 2006
No. 5 - 2004

No. 10 on the top 100 banned/challenged books: 2000-2009 list
1. thunderbolt7
April 21, 2014

How about a comment or two as to why certain books were challenged?

2. TimBehrend
Auckland NZ, 00,
April 21, 2014

Do the reporter or any readers know what "religious viewpoint" means as a reason for challenge? Does it mean that the book has an explicitly religious viewpoint that the author of the complaint disagrees with? Or that someone with a religious viewpoint finds something offensive to his/her beliefs somewhere in the book? Given the extreme sectarianism of the Abrahamic religions, i suspect that every book ever written could be classified as religiously suspect by one group or another.

3. snickerdoodle
Idaho Falls, ID,
April 21, 2014

I agree with the complaints against several of these books. I liked "Hunger Games" but definitely do not think it should be a book for young adults due to the violence. Requesting a library to remove anything is pretty pointless, in my experience and the experience of other family/friends. I recently submitted a request to remove 3 DVDs that were rated "X" that have recently been added to our library's collection, but a library never removes anything. They go through the motions and then send a formal email or letter indicating they "carefully considered" your request but they're keeping the item.

4. Third try screen name
Mapleton, UT,
April 21, 2014

I was actually cast as a villain by the ALA because of a Judy Blume book in our school library.
I believed it should not have been in the open stacks of a middle school library.
I was not denying the parental right to have their child read the book; only requesting that my child not be exposed to it.
The hardliners considered me a book-burner.
Well, the district policy was to vote on the removal and leave it off the shelf for two years, after which it would be placed back on the shelf. We won the first round and lost the second.
I have concluded that the ALA is opposed to any book restrictions. There is no negotiating with them.

5. Shelama
April 21, 2014

Catcher in the Rye was a scream... had me laughing harder than any book I've ever read.

I read it when I was a Mormon and more than once I laughed out loud during Sacrament or Fast & Testimony meetings when a passage irreverently entered my mind.

It wasn't the cause of my leaving Mormonism. I even associate it with those highly pleasurable moments in church.