Accomac County Public Schools pulled to novels considered “classics” from student libraries this week because a parent filed a formal complaint over language used in the books.
Accomac’s school board “temporarily suspended” use of the two novels and appoints a committee to review the books and make a recommendation to the superintendent.
Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a story of racial turmoil in the South won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and is used widely in schools.
Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, first published in the United Kingdom in 1885 and America in 1886 is considered a scathing satires on racism and other entrenched attitudes. Although the book’s theme is anti-racist, it comes under attack for its frequent use of racial epithets.
The Associated Press story about the actions in Accomac led me to take a look this week at the American Library Association’s Top 10 list of books challenged for 2016.
The list, with reasons for the challenges against libraries carrying or distributing the books:
Looking for Alaska by John Green. Reasons? Offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age groups;
Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James. Reasons? Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”);
I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings. Reasons? Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group;
Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin. Reasons? Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”);
The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon. Reasons? Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”)”;
Holy Bible by various autors: Reason? “Religious viewpoint”;
Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel: Reasons? Violence and other (“graphic images”);
Habibi by Craig Thompson. Reasons? Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group;
Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jaeanette: Reasons? Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.;
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan: Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).
Varied books, varied reasons for banning.