From 1990 - 1992, challenged in schools and public libraries:

James and the Giant Peach, Roald Dahl: poor portrayal of authority figures (aunts)

In the Night Kitchen, Maurice Sendak: nudity

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain: use of the word "nigger"

Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson; A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle; Blubber, Judy Blume; How to Eat Fried Worms, Thomas Rockwell...

The Crucible, Arthur Miller: challenged because it contains "sick words from the mouths of demon-possessed people", 1982

Where the Sidewalk Ends, Shel Silverstein: banned in Minot, ND because it undermines parental, school and religious authority, 1986

Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller: banned in French Lick, IN for profanity, 1981

The Diary of a Young Girl, Anne Frank: challenged in Wise County, VA for "sexually offensive passages", 1982

Slaughterhouse-Five, Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.: burned in Lakeland, FL, 1982

Harriet the Spy, Louise Fitzhugh: challenged in Xenia, OH, because it "teaches children to lie, spy, back-talk and curse," 1983.

My sources are quite old, but I hope knifegirl's above examples prove that this still goes on in this day and age.

Every year, the American Booksellers Association holds a "Banned Books Week" to call attention to censorship issues. Here are some books that were banned, or very nearly so, during the 80's.

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding. In 1981, the book was challenged by a high school in Owen, NC, because it was "demoralizing inasmuch as it implies that man is little more than an animal."

Biology, by Karen Arms and Pamela S. Camp. In 1985, the Garland, TX, textbook selection committee complained of "overly explicit diagrams of sexual organs."

The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, by Thomas A. Bailey and David M. Kennedy. In 1984, officials in the Racine, WI, School District complained that the book contained "a lot of funny pictures of Republicans and nicer pictures of Democrats."

Zen Buddhism: Selected Writings, by D.T. Suzuki. In 1987, the school system of Canton, MI, was informed that "this book details the teaching of the religion of Buddhism in such a way that the reader could very likely embrace its teachings and choose this as his religion."

1984, by George Orwell. In 1981, the book was challenged in Jackson County, FL, because it was "pro-communist and contained explicit sexual matter."

Slugs, by David Greenburg. In 1985, an elementary school in Escondido, CA, banned the book for describing "slugs being dissected with scissors."

Though not quite banned, another related bit of irony is a Ballantine Books printing of Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Bradbury was later informed by students reading that version that over 75 pieces of the book had been cut out by an editor worried about political correctness.

The censorship of literature by the rabid Moral-Majority-cross-grabbers is one of the greatest threats to our freedoms, as Americans, in all of history. The fact that these screaming fools are quoting madness and demanding the government sanctioned stripping of intellectual persuits of The People for The People even today is sick. Everything from Where's Waldo (nudity) to Naked Lunch (where to start) is considered fair game for atempted banning.

These moral few may no longer have the backing of America's bulk for nation-wide censorship of books, but they still hold some strong sway over classrooms and small towns. Argument can be made that this is how some places are. That conservative values are prominent, and they should be allowed to go about their own lives and descisions as they see fit. Issue here being that censors are not only enforcing their private values on people who may or may not feel the same, but they are playing the mental Fascist with children who might, then, never know some of the most beautiful works of written artistry from across the globe.

Another argument is that of pornography. Reasonably, there is a need for certain laws against such crimes as child-pornography. However, I fail to see why the Diary of Anne Frank should be placed in the same category. If these books are not totally removed from the shelves should we sell them in the same sealed baggies of Penthouse and Playboy? I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings and Ginsberg next to Stuffed in sidewalk magazine carts.

After all, why do we tell our children to be so grateful for living in America? Why do millions of immigrants come here? Freedom of the mind. Freedom of personal belief and choice. To surpress one of the few redeeming qualities left to America is cruel and sad.

I, personally, think that the banning of books is a practice that has gotten far out of hand in America.

In some ways, I am for the removal of books from public libraries- within reason, that is. I would never want to see a copy of Gerald's Game lying in the kiddie corner of my local library, or Madonna's Sex anywhere in said library.

However. It is when the practice of banning books falls into the hands of the religious whackjobs, the Moral Majority members, the practitioners of "family values", that it truly gets out of hand. I was surprised to read a list of books that are most frequently banned put out by the American Library Association, and find that Daddy's Roommate is number 2 on the list, while the aforementioned Sex is only number 20.

Some of the other reasons for removal are similarly foolish. As mentioned in ApoxyButt's entry, a book on Zen Buddhism was removed because one could learn how to become a Buddhist from the book. Your point being...? It's not The Satanic Bible, for God's sack. If the book didn't have any graphic violence or extremely perverse sex scenes, then I see no problem with it being on my library's shelf. Not everyone is little Susie Judeo-Christian, y'know.

It only gets worse as one goes along. I read a second list with the top ten books banned from school systems, along with reasons why the books were banned. Of course, Harry Potter was leading, but something struck out that slapped me across the face. Katherine Patterson's Bridge to Terabithia, which I had read in 5th grade as part of my curriculum, was banned from school systems for "references to the occult and Satanism".

"The occult and Satanism", people. Apparently, those must have been some powerful occult references, because I've blocked them out of my memory. Oh, wait- it's because they never existed.

Children should have the right to read whatever it is that they want to read, within reason. The removal of books from shelves should be used logically, and not because some nut is afraid that Satan is just going to leap out of the pages of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and snatch their little Johnny away to Hell.

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