ALA Releases List of Top 10 Most Offensive Books in 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey made the American Library Association’s (ALA) most recent list of the top 10 most complained-about books, but it’s only in fourth place!

captain underpantsThe Daily Mail is reporting that E.L. James trilogy of sado-masochistic fiction took a back seat to the number one most complained-about book, Dav Pilkey’s  Captain Underpants series, followed by Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell rounds out the top five books about which libraries received the most formal written complaints and requests for restriction or removal from library shelves in 2012.

Captain Underpants, which is No. 1 on the list, is about two boys, Harold and George, who use a 3-D ring to hypnotize who they call a grouchy principal who punishes them for misbehaving, turning him into Captain Underpants. Complaints concern the book’s toilet humor and the fact that the boys treat all authority in a very disrespectful manner.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, is about a young adult growing up on an Indian reservation. The book has been described as vulgar, racist and anti-Christian.

thirteen reasons whyThirteen Reasons Why came in third. This book is about a young girl who commits suicide and posthumously describes the reasons why she did it. Complaints are from parents who say the book contains explicit content and is inappropriate reading material for 15 and 16 year-olds.

Fifty Shades of Grey, which holds the 4th spot, has been extensively criticized for its graphic sexual content and inappropriate presentation of sado-masochistic behavior.

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, rounds out the top 5. This is a children’s book about two male penguins who raise a baby penguin. It is being criticized because of its promotion of homosexuality.

The remaining books in the top 10 list are Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, Looking for Alaska by John Green,  the Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls, and Beloved by Toni Morrison.

The ALA is reporting a 25 percent increase in challenges last year with 464 reports in 2012 compared to 2011.

“One reason we think the number went up in 2012 is that we made challenges easier to report by including a portal on our Web page,” said Barbara M. Jones, director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom.

The ALA is a controversial organization that fought passage of the Children’s Internet Protection Act which addressed concerns with children having access to obscene material online.

The ALA also promotes “Banned Books Week” every year in schools where students are encouraged to read books that have received complaints about their offensive content.

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