comScore
  1. Mediaite
  2. Gossip Cop
  3. Geekosystem
  4. Styleite
  5. SportsGrid
  6. The Mary Sue
  7. The Maude
  8. The Braiser

What's with the name?

Allow us to explain.

Inside of a dog it's too dark to read

Women Authors and Books for Young Women Top the ALA’s 2010 List of Challenged Books


It’s high time we acknowledged Banned Books Week around here, and what better way to do it than taking a look at the titles that the American Library Association has determined to be the US’s most challenged books of the past year?

Lush: A Novel, for example, is an award winning story of a teenage girl struggling with sexual harassment at school and her father’s alcoholism at home. What My Mother Doesn’t Know is somewhat in the same vein; a story about a girl figuring out that peer acceptance and high school social mores aren’t the best criteria for making choices in her love life.  The Hunger Games has a story of love in it, but primarily its characters’ practical natures force them to put aside the potential for romance in their lives to deal with the intense violence their society subjects them to, not to mention to deal with some of the most compelling depictions of post traumatic stress that I’ve found in literature.

The 2010 list runs as follows:

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend
  7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

It only takes a cursory glance at the list to note that two thirds of these books were created by women, and half of them concern the trials and (some) triumphs of central female characters. Actually, the latter is kind of comforting: it’s precisely the right ratio to hope for in any list of good literature. Books often rise to prominence in a year’s challenges when they are given the publicity boost of being adapted to the big screen. 2011 is The Hunger Games‘ first time hitting the banned books list, undoubtedly because of the movie that’s in the works.

In other words, with the last Twilight movie hitting theaters late next year, don’t I wouldn’t be surprised if the series maintains its presence on the list for a third year in a row.

For all of the most challenged books of this young century, check out the ALA website.

TAGS: | | |


  • Kath

    The only good news is that someone somewhere had the sense to at least try to ban Twilight. I want that person to win a Nobel Prize, or at least some form of commendation from Obama for services to young women in the US.

    But the Hunger Games? Really? I didn’t think it was all that bad. Sure, it’s a bit violent or what have you, but it’s nowhere near as bad as half of the stuff teens/young adults are exposed to in movies or on TV. I doubt the movie has much to do with it as the series has been gaining popularity for quite a while now, especially after those utterly unnecessary sequels.

  • http://handfulofhealth.com elaine!

    I’m sure they contested Twilight for all the wrong reasons. E.g. vampires (zomg!).

  • Kath

    Sadly, I fear you may be right. Still, a ban for that book is nothing to be sniffed at.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Dana-Kay-Bach/1043956249 Dana Kay Bach

    I can only hope that Twilight is on that list because someone in the ALA has a problem with a book advocating that men fighting over a woman is perfectly normal and acceptable.  Books like Garth Nix Abhorsen Trilogy are completely ignored in favor of a series where the main character’s defining characteristic is her inability to move on with her life after her boyfriend rejects her.
    People, hand your kids A Wrinkle in Time, Sabriel, Lirael, Abhorsen, The Giver.  When I have kids, they will never read Twilight.  It’s on my list of banned books, especially for young women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/1shewolf JoAnna Luffman

    Banning it because isn’t not well written, and shows a very unhealthy version of “love” in one thing. Banning it because Satan is talking to your children through mythological creatures isn’t. 

    And yes, I do like the books.

  • Alicia Little

    as much as I hate twilight, it is still literature and literature should never ever be banned.

  • http://twitter.com/EsquireTemp Esquire Temp Service

    These aren’t books that “the ALA has a problem with”.  These are the books that have been most commonly banned or challenged (which usually means someone’s parents tried to get it taken out of the library or classroom) within the last year.  For the most part, the books on this list are there because they present controversial ideas such as sexuality, drug use, violence, or question the status quo.  This can often include positive references to magic or the occult, so Twilight is probably included for “occult” references rather than for the atrocious writing and damaging message for young girls. 

  • Anonymous

    the ala gathers statistical information about book challenges across the country.  the ala doesnt have a problem with any book.  its a fairly liberal organization.

  • Michail Velichansky

    You seem to think you can control what your kids read. You can’t, especially not at the age we’re talking about. If your 14+ year old wants to read Twilight, they’ll get it–either with their own money, borrowing from a friend, or the local library. By “banning” it, you’ll just guarantee that you won’t know they’re reading it, and won’t be able to have a discussion of the issues you have with the book.

    Perhaps even more importantly, you have to let your kids experience art you don’t like. They may not have the same taste as you. They may want to read something stupid just because it’s amusing or brain candy. You can give kids the books you think they _should_ like, but you have to let them develop their own taste too–and the only way to do that is to try things, including things that might not be any good.

    In other words, kids have the right to enjoy crap if they want to, and they have the right to their own taste, separate and even contradictory to your own. By all means give them the books you think are good and encourage them to give them a try, of course, but trying to control entertainment based on your own measures of quality… is just not cool. 

    This sort of thing just feels too much like what generations of parents did to kids who preferred books about aliens or elves or superheroes instead of something of better “quality”, and it wasn’t cool then, either.

  • http://safelibraries.blogspot.com/ SafeLibraries

    No book has been banned in the USA for about half a century.  Fanny Hill got that honor a long time ago.  Challenged books in schools that are removed is different from banning.  Setting aside that Banned Books Week is propaganda, the creator of BBW said:

    “On rare occasion, we have situations where a piece of material is not what it appears to be on the surface and the material is totally inappropriate for a school library. In that case, yes, it is appropriate to remove materials. If it doesn’t fit your material selection policy, get it out of there.”

    See: “Banned Books Week Propaganda Exposed by Progressive Librarian Rory Litwin; ALA Censors Out Criticism of Its Own Actions in a Manner Dishonest to the Core.”

    See also: “Celebrate ‘Librarians Trying to Make Themselves Feel Important’ Week!,” by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 26 September 2011.

    Be sure to see a “banned” author admitting the ALA fakes its top 10 challenged book list for political reasons.  See: “ Banned Books Week is Gay Promotion? Author Admits ALA Faked 2010 Top 10 Challenged Book List .”

    The point is, don’t worry too much about what the ALA listed.  It’s faked anyway.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7G4SWUX2MCWWXLMYNN347JMIZY Frodo Baggins

    You can’t just ban something because it’s shitty. Otherwise Sturgeon’s Law would be inapplicable.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2df4ccp

  • Kath

    Aww, that’s no fun. I agree, but it’s still no fun.

  • Kath

    Aww, that’s no fun. I agree, but it’s still no fun.

  • Anonymous

    thank goodness we (read as: the united states) havent banned any books in half a century.  were lucky to live in a country that allows us to access information.  and were lucky to have an organization like the ala that strives to improve library services for everyone.  heres their mission statement: http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/missionhistory/mission/index.cfm

    if you have books in your library that dont fit the institutions collection development policy, then yes, of course it should be set aside for review.  kowtowing to a bunch of loud idiots because they think kurt vonnegut is smutty or whatever is a completely different issue.  if you dont like what your kids are checking out, maybe you outta visit the library with them some time.  its the parents job to decide what is appropriate for his or her own children.  its the librarians job to check the books out to anyone that wants to read them.

  • Anonymous

    thank goodness we (read as: the united states) havent banned a book in half a century.  were lucky to live in a country where we have access to information.  and were lucky to have an organization like the ala that actively tries to improve libraries.  heres their mission statement:
    http://www.ala.org/ala/aboutala/missionhistory/mission/index.cfm

    if you have a book in your library that doesnt fit your institutions collection development policy, then yes, of course you should review it.  but kowtowing to a bunch of loud idiots because they think kurt vonnegut is smutty or whatever is a different issue.  if you dont like what your kids are reading, maybe you should go to the library with them sometime.  its a parents job to decide what is appropriate for his or her child.  it the librarians job to check out books to whoever wants to read them.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    Why the frak is “Nickel and Dimed” in that list?  Who would want that removed from schools?

  • http://twitter.com/Super_Widget Joanna

    I really want to read Hunger Games now =o

  • Anonymous

    Do. It was so much more than I expected it to be.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=742530231 Amanda Jean Carroll

    That’s what I’m trying to figure out too! I can’t think of a single reason. I mean, I can’t for any book, but this seems particularly silly. 

  • Zach Williams

    All fiction books should be banned, as well as those non-fiction books not approved by the State.  Books encourage unhealthy imagining, taking our youth unproductively away from the realities of production.  The State has produced sufficiently entertaining visual media that does not rely on the unpredictable nature of the a young imagination.

  • Anonymous

    Thank god somebody finally said what we’re all really thinking.

  • Anonymous

    Literature might be a little strong, but I agree banning books and for that matter any form of creative expression is a bad ideal.

  • Anonymous

    Literature might be a little strong, but I agree banning books and for that matter any form of creative expression is a bad ideal.

  • Anonymous

    Agreed I rarely like books in the YA category but I tried the hunger games and was pleasantly surprised.

  • Laura Wiebe

    I recall reading Twilight was banned for sex. There is a fade to black scene in one of the books. I see more action in High School.

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/3ct3pn6

    tinyurl.com/3tnmjr8