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Top 10 Banned Books in America

The topic of book banning entered the national conversation since the public started hearing about Sarah Palin’s inquiry into censoring books at the Wasilla, Alaska, public library when she was mayor. (Check out the Mat-Su Frontiersman’s 1996 coverage of the controversy, dug up from the archives in Wasilla by TWI’s Laura McGann.)

At the time, Palin didn’t specify which books she wanted removed from the shelves.

ABC reports that at the same time Palin was involved in the library controversy, her church was pushing to do away with a book about a teenager addicted to drugs, “Go Ask Alice,” and preacher Howard Bess’ “Pastor, I Am Gay.”

Wasilla church-goers’ efforts to ban gay literature is much like campaigns in other communities across country. Sexuality, it seems, is regarded as one of the most controversial book topics in the United States.

TWI decided to find out just what books are the most challenged in the nation. So here’s the American Library Assn.’s list of the books subject to the most requests for removal from libraries or curricula in 2007, the latest year data is available.

  • “And Tango Makes Three,” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson Synopsis: Tango, an orphan puffin at the New York City zoo, is taken in by a loving penguin couple — both male. *Reasons: *sexism, homosexuality, anti-family, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  • “The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier Reasons:
  • “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language
  • “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman *Reasons: *religious viewpoint
  • “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain Reasons: racism
  • “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker *Reasons: *homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language,
  • “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle Reasons: sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group
  • “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou *Reasons: *sexually explicit
  • “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris *Reasons: *sex education, sexually explicit
  • “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group *Courtesy of the American Library Assn. *

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