The Most Complained-About Books of 2014

by Laurie Ulster
Originally Published: 

The American Library Association just released their State of America’s Libraries Report, which talks about their efforts to increase the diversity in children’s literature, meaning the content as well as the writers and illustrators themselves. The ALA has been finding some resistance to this in the form of challenges, defined as “a formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.” After looking at which books and materials received the most complaints, they determined that “attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned.”

Here’s the list of the books that received the most challenges, along with the reasons quoted.

“The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie

Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying.”

“Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi

Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions.”

“And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell

Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda.”

We’d like to take this moment to point out that this book is actually about two REAL penguins at the Central Park Zoo. Here’s a closer look, so you can judge it for yourself.

“The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison

Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues.”

“It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris

Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography.”

“Saga,” by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples

Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

“The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini

Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence.

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation.”

“A Stolen Life,” Jaycee Dugard

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

This one is also a true story.

“Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier

Reasons: sexually explicit.

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