Hunger Games and Twilight on Annual Banned Book List

According to the AP:

” Suzanne Collins didn’t expect everyone to approve of “The Hunger Games.”

“I’ve read in passing that people were concerned about the level of violence in the books,” Collins said of her dystopian trilogy that’s sold more than a million copies. “That’s not unreasonable. They are violent. It’s a war trilogy.”

In what’s become a virtual rite of passage for young adult sensations, a Collins novel has made its first appearance on the American Library Association’s annual top 10 list of books most criticized in their communities. “The Hunger Games,” the title work of Collins’ series about young people forced to hunt and kill each other on live television, has been cited for violence and sexual content. In recent years, J.K. Rowling’s “Harry Potter” books and Stephenie Meyer’s vampire novels also have been on the association’s list.

“Hunger Games” ranked No. 5 this year and was joined Monday by Meyer’s “Twilight” (No. 10), which debuted on the list last year, and Sherman Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” winner in 2007 of the National Book Award for young people’s literature. Criticisms of Alexie’s novel include language, racism and sexual content.”

See more on the AP

Also visit the ALA site to see the history of book challenges

To quote our favorite slogan of the ALA, “Celebrate freedom: read a banned book!”

Celebrate Freedom: Read a Banned Book

It’s time for the American Library Association’s annual Banned Book Week. Twilight made the list of challenged books again this year. Check out the press release from the ALA. We highlighted the passage that most closely matches our opinion.

What do books from the Twilight series, “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Catcher in the Rye” have in common? All have faced removal from library bookshelves in the United States within the past year.

From coast to coast, libraries and bookstores will battle censorship and celebrate the freedom to read during Banned Books Week, Sept. 25 – Oct. 2, 2010. Thousands of participants will read from banned or challenged books and will discuss the impact censorship has on civil liberties.

Each year, the American Library Association’s (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives hundreds of reports on book challenges, which are formal written requests to remove a book from a library or classroom because of an objection to the book’s content. There were 460 recorded attempts to remove materials from libraries in 2009 and more than 11,000 attempts recorded since OIF began compiling information on book challenges in 1990.

Not every book is right for each reader, but we should have the right to think for ourselves and allow others to do the same,” said ALA President Roberta Stevens. “The founders of this nation protected freedom of expression based on their conviction that a diversity of views and ideas is necessary for a vital, functioning democracy. Danger does not arise from viewpoints other than our own; the danger lies in allowing others to decide for us and our communities which reading materials are appropriate. How can we live in a free society and develop our own opinions if our right to choose reading materials for ourselves and our families is taken away? We must remain diligent and protect our freedom to read.”

In many cases, it is only through public concern and citizen involvement that books are saved from confiscation or from being kept under lock and key. For example in Stockton, Mo., concerned citizens spoke out during school board meetings and persuaded the school board to reconsider its ban of Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award –winning novel, “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” While the work of these citizens is not done, their ongoing campaign to encourage the Stockton school board to reverse its decision demonstrates how public support for the right to read freely can help prevent the suppression of literature and ideas.

This year will mark the 29th annual celebration of Banned Books Week. This year’s observance will kick off in Chicago on Sept. 25, as best-selling banned authors participate in a “Read Out!” event. Participating authors include the most frequently challenged author of 2009, Lauren Myracle (the ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r series); Chris Crutcher (“Athletic Shorts”) and many others.

Many bookstores and libraries celebrating Banned Books Week will showcase selections from the ALA OIF’s “Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009.” The list is released each spring and serves as a comprehensive snapshot of book removal attempts in the U.S. The “Top Ten Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009” reflects a range of themes and consists of the following titles:

ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Drugs, Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
“And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality
“The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Anti-Family, Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group,
“To Kill A Mockingbird,” by Harper Lee
Reasons: Offensive Language, Racism, Unsuited to Age Group
Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
“Catcher in the Rye,” by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
“My Sister’s Keeper,” by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Drugs, Homosexuality, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Sexism, Sexually Explicit, Suicide, Unsuited to Age Group, Violence
“The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things,” by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
“The Color Purple,” Alice Walker
Reasons: Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group
“The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Offensive Language, Sexually Explicit, Unsuited to Age Group

For more information on Banned Books Week, book challenges and censorship, please visit the Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks, or www.bannedbooksweek.org.
Banned Books Week is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, the ALA, the Association of American Publishers, the American Society of Journalists and Authors, the National Association of College Stores and is endorsed by the Library of Congress Center for the Book.