"Hunger Games" is Third on the List of Most Frequently Challenged Library Books

The book has been criticized for being anti-ethnic, anti-family and insensitive, as well as for its offensive language, occult/satanic message and incidents of violence.

The American Library Association (ALA) has released its annual list of the most frequently challenged library books of the year. The list is part of the ALA’s 2012 State of America’s Libraries Report, released Monday, April 9, in conjunction with National Library Week (April 8-14).

On its website, the ALA explains the difference between banned and challenged books: A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received 326 reports regarding attempts to remove or restrict materials from school curricula and library bookshelves.

10 Most Frequently Challenged Library Books of 2011

1) ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

2) The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa
Reasons: Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

3)  The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence

4) My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons: Nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

5)  The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group

6) Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Reasons: Nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint

7) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: Insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit

8) What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Reasons: Nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit

9) Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar
Reasons: Drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit

10) To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Offensive language; racism

For lists of the top 10 challenged books from 2001 to 2011, click here.

The State of America's Libraries report also included a statement about publishers limiting library e-book lending.

According to the report, the rapid growth of e-books has stimulated increasing demand for them in libraries, but libraries only have limited access to e-books because of restrictions placed on their use by publishers. Macmillan Publishing, Simon and Schuster and Hachette Book Group refused to sell e-books to libraries. HarperCollins imposed an arbitrary 26 loans per e-book license, and Penguin refused to let libraries lend its new titles altogether. When Random House raised e-book prices, the ALA urged it to reconsider.

“In a time of extreme financial constraint, a major price increase effectively curtails access for many libraries, and especially our communities that are hardest hit economically,” Molly Raphael, ALA president, said in a statement.

NancyC April 11, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Thanks for this information. I notice that several include the reason; "unsuited to age group", meaning the intended audience might be scandalized by the material rather than elevated or enlightened by it. This is where parental rights,authority and responsibility for the upbringing and education of their children takes precedence over professional educators.
Jeanne Warp April 11, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Hunger Games are violent, I'll give you that. However Satanic? anti family? anti ethnic? What books are they reading? Obviously not the same ones I read. Seriously I think they are making this up as they go along.
Sol Fiske April 11, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Those that challenge freedom of speech and freedom of expression share many of the same mindset threads of the fascist movement in the 1930's. Their attempts at censorship need to be carefully monitored so that the freedom of expression granted to all Americans is not eroded by a small activist minority. Parents and families need to undertake the responsibility for educating their kids on literature and society. Kids should not be shielded from the world, but should rather engage in and understand it it with the guidance and love of their parents or other mentors. While the above list includes, admittedly, some stupid and silly stuff (such as Gossip Girl), there are also some classics (such as To Kill A Mockingbird, Brave New World and, arguably, The Hunger Games). Freedom of expression protects ALL of these.
Deke April 11, 2012 at 11:07 PM
A few comments: The events described by the ALA do not constitute "censorship" in the accurate sense of the word, as none of the listed works were banned or suppressed by a unit of government. Instead, the article apparently refers largely to instances in which a member of the community (a taxpaying parent?) has sought removal of a writing from a public library or school curriculum, or restricted access, in order to protect children from writings that, in the parent's judgment, may be inappropriate in view of the likely reader's maturity level. Regardless of whether that is justified under the circumstances, it is a far cry from true censorship in which speech or writings are totally suppressed -- and banned from the marketplace of ideas -- by the government because of their political content. Another thought: Some quick internet research reveals there are approximately 98,817 public schools in the U.S. The 326 reported instances of "attempts to remove or restrict materials" -- if they all occurred in the context of public school curricula -- represents one attempt for every 303 schools per year. Add to that the number of public libraries in the U.S. -- reported to be about 9,200 -- and you have one attempt from every 331 public schools or libraries. So the parents and members of the community referenced in the article do not appear to be a major threat to our liberties. The distortion of information by the government, however, is another matter entirely.
Glenn April 11, 2012 at 11:47 PM
The political correctness of America! Really to Kill a Mockingbird?
Mick Kahler April 11, 2012 at 11:57 PM
Why are people still "challenging" 'To Kill A Mockingbird'? It's only considered by most literary scholars to be one of the greatest American novels ever written! Racism and language in "Mockingbird"? Yes, think of the times that are depicted in that story. There WAS racism and strong language was part of the deal too! Let me guess, people who challenge Harper Lee's classic also want to argue that there's too much violence in the History books that cover events of the Holocaust and World War II. I am currently teaching "The Hunger Games" to my senior English students. Outside of some violence, the claims of anti-family sentiment, insensitivity, occult/satanic issues, etc. are simply not true! These book "challengers" might want to actually read what they are protesting before saying idiotic things. "The Hunger Games" is an amalgam of "Survivor" and "American Idol" and displays fair commentary on what a futuristic United States could someday look like,


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