Blog Post

“Twilight” Series Tops List of Most Challenged Books in 2009

by Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Journalist The enormously popular occult fiction series, Twilight, was ranked No. 5 on the annual report of most “challenged books” released this week by the American Library Association (ALA). The Associated Press is reporting that the series, written by Stephenie Meyer and based on the romance between a vampire and a teenage girl, is receiving the most criticism for its sexual content. Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom, thinks the high number of complaints reflects a general unease about supernatural story lines. "Vampire novels have been a target for years and the Twilight books are so immensely popular that a lot of the concerns people have had about vampires are focused on her books," Jones said. At the top of the 2009 list is Lauren Myracle’s best-selling young adult novel series ttyl, which has been cited for nudity, language and drug references. This is followed by And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson about two gay penguins who adopt a baby. Another gay-themed book, The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky, which was cited for being sexually explicit and anti-family with offensive language and religious viewpoint, came in third. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee was fourth with complaints centering on its racist content and offensive language. Last year’s list contained several occult thrillers, such as the Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz and Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya which were cited for their occult/satanism themes. The highly offensive anti Christian trilogy, His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman also made the list last year for its religious content. The most popular occult-themed thriller of all time, the Harry Potter series, was not cited this year, but remains the No.1 most challenged book of the decade. As questionable as the content in these books may be, the ultra-liberal ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom (OIF) does not believe in removing offensive books from the shelves. “Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view,” says the OIF on its website. “Rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. As such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice.” They celebrate questionable books every September by sponsoring “Banned Book Week” in schools when students are given free access to books that were challenged due to their offensive content. “Even though not every book will be right for every reader, the ability to read, speak, think and express ourselves freely are core American values,” Jones said. “Protecting one of our most fundamental rights – the freedom to read – means respecting each other’s differences and the right of all people to choose for themselves what they and their families read.” The ALA received 460 complaints about books last year, down from 513 the year before, but claims their list represents only 20-25 percent of all challenges that are actually made in libraries across the country. For more information about groups who are fighting for the removal of offensive books from school libraries, visit Parents Against Bad Books in Schools at © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®