I want to protect my kid from the kind of conformist, censorious instincts that lead to books being challenged — because that is the same instinct that creates bullying and alienation. I do not want to protect him from the content of the books themselves, which I hope would help him understand himself and others (the famed mirrors and windows idea).
The particular prudish streak in our country is fortunately offset by a flourishing literature of difference, and a robust discussion of how to use art to aid empathy and understanding.
Here is the top ten challenged books of 2015:
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”).
- I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.
- Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”).
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”).
- The Holy Bible Reasons: Religious viewpoint.
- Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel Reasons: Violence and other (“graphic images”).
- Habibi, by Craig Thompson Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.
- Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).