Better Watch Out for Captain Underpants!: Banned Books Week

Copyright Dav Pilkey
So Friday has been a fairly busy day and that is why I am posting this at 1:30 AM on Saturday. I feel it is not technically Saturday until I go to bed. Yep, that is my logic, and I am sticking to it. It is kind of late, so let's make this a short but fun post!

According to the Banned Books website, the following were the most challenged books in the past year:

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
If you didn't notice, Captain Underpants beat out Fifty Shades of Grey, which was banned at the public library in my home state for a brief time. My brother and I are too old for Captain Underpants, so I had to go to the Internet to find out what all the fuss is about. Business Insider (surprising!) wrote a fairly in depth article about Why "Captain Underpants" Is the Most Banned Book in America. In the article, the writer explains what some of the concerns are including partial nudity, language, and bad behavior. The writer ends the article noting that she is concerned that we are banning/challenging books that are enticing to certain hard-to-reach demographics. I must admit that I have this concern as well. Are we going to end up challenging all the books that are relate-able to kids (and adults)? Gosh, that seems like we are going to be left with a lot of boring books. How many times can you read See Spot?


Jessica @ Books: A true story said...
October 1, 2013 at 10:23 AM

That is beyond bizarre that Captain Underpants is the most banned book above books like 50 Shades of Grey. I wouldn't let my 5 year old read it, but I would even buy it for him when he got older if it made him love reading. That article had a good point about banning books that appeal to kids. Along with that, a lot of kid books that earn awards are usually books that adults like more and are not usually as appealing to kids. Love this post :)

Unknown said...
October 1, 2013 at 7:24 PM

I was rather surprised that 50 Shades of Grey wasn't the most banned book last year too. 50 Shades was banned in the public libraries in the county next door to mine for a little while, but was returned after people started to complain.

Anonymous said...
November 21, 2013 at 4:27 AM

I don't really have a lot of experience with banned books. In SA I have fairly easy access to a lot of books and honestly didn't know that Fifty shades was banned anywhere as it was so easily accessible in my country.
Personally I think it is sad that books get banned at all. Isn't that why they put age restrictions on movies and tv series? Can't they do the same thing for books (Wait - do they?)
And Captain Underpants? Really? Seems a bit sad... Those worried mommies need to stop worrying about a picture book. There really are worse things out there.

Unknown said...
November 23, 2013 at 10:02 PM

I completely agree! People get a bit silly over the wrong thing.

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