Banned and Challenged Books 2014-2015
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
Thorndike Press; Little, Brown
Pulled from the Meridian, Idaho, high school supplemental reading list (2014) after some parents complained that the novel “discusses masturbation, contains profanity, and has been viewed as anti-Christian.” School board members rejected a committee recommendation that the book should stay on the tenth-grade English supplemental reading list with parental permission required. Challenged at the Cedar Grove Middle School in Wilmington, N.C., (2014) because “the book contains numerous depictions of sexual behavior, as well as instances of racism, vulgar language, bullying, and violence.” Attached to the complaint was a petition signed by 42 members of the complainant’s church, Soldier Bay Baptist. The complainant is not the parent or grandparent of a child at Cedar Grove. District policy states that parents or guardians who do not approve of school reading materials may request alternative texts. Suspended from the Highland Park, Tex., Independent School District’s approved book list (2014) by the school superintendent. The decision sparked a backlash and drew national attention. The superintendent then reinstated the book. In February 2015, the school district trustees approved policy changes on how the district selects books and handles parents’ objections. The challenged contemporary young adult book is a National Book Award winner. It tells the story of a teenager who grows up on the Spokane Indian Reservation but leaves to attend an all-white high school in a farm town. The book has strong language, including racial slurs.
Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2014, pp. 80-81; July-Sept. 2014, p. 119; Nov. 2014, pp. 162, 174-76; March 2015, p. 47.
Cast, P. C., and Kristin Cast
The House of Night series
St. Martin’s Press
Challenged at the Austin Memorial Library in Cleveland, Tex. (2014), along with other young adult books that have a vampire theme. A local minister requested that the “occultic (sic) and demonic room be shut down, and these books be purged from the shelves, and that public funds would no longer be used to purchase such material, or at least require parents to check them out for their children.”
Source: AL Direct, August 27, 2014.
Challenged, but retained in the Waukesha, Wis., West High School library (2014) despite concerns about “extreme violence.” A 1990 ALA Best Books for Young Adults, the novel addresses issues of suicide, drug and alcohol abuse, and sexual abuse including gang rape.
Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, Nov. 2014, pp. 171-72.
Danforth, Emily M.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post
Balzer + Bray
Removed from the Cape Henlopen school district’s summer reading list in Lewes, Del. (2014), due to language deemed inappropriate for entering high school freshmen. The book is set in rural Montana in the early 1990s. The parents of the main character, a teenage girl named Cameron Post, die in a car accident before finding out she’s gay. Orphaned, the girl moves in with her old-fashioned grandmother and ultraconservative aunt; she falls in love with her best friend—a girl. Selected for the 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults list by the Young Adult Library Services Association, the list includes recommended books for ages 12-18 that meet “the criteria of both good quality literature and appealing reading for teens.”
Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, July-Sept. 2014, pp. 118-19.
Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You
Challenged by a parent in Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan, Minn., elementary school libraries (2014) because it uses the “r-word” (retarded) to refer to students with special needs.
Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, May 2014, p. 79.
Tom Doherty Associates
Cancelled as the approved reading assignment in the Pensacola, Fla. (2014), One School/One Book summer reading program by a high school principal because it promoted hacker culture. The principal “made it clear that the book was being challenged because of its politics and its content.” In response Doctorow and his publisher sent 200 complimentary copies of the book directly to students at the school.
Source: Newsletter on Intellectual Freedom, July-Sept. 2014, p. 119.
Geisel, Theodor Seuss
Hop on Pop: The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use
Challenged, but retained at the Toronto, Canada, Public Library (2014) despite a patron’s concern that the book “encourages children to use violence against their fathers.” The patron requested that the library apologize to local fathers and pay damages resulting from the book’s message. Written in 1963, the classic children’s picture book ranked sixteenth on Publishers W