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Banned or challenged books through the years

Naturally, "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James is a top banned book, but what's wrong with "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins? These books and the facts about their bans/challenges were gleaned from an annual list compiled by the American Library Association.

'This One Summer' by Mariko Tamaki

Mariko Tamaki's
Photo Credit: First Second Books

Mariko Tamaki's "This One Summer" faced restrictions and was even banned in 2016 for including LGBT characters, drug use and profanity.

'Drama' by Raina Telgemeier

Raina Telgemeire's
Photo Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Raina Telgemeire's "Drama" was frequently challenged in 2016 because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit and considered to have an offensive political viewpoint.

'George' by Alex Gino

Alex Gino's
Photo Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Alex Gino's "George" follows the story of a transgender child and was challenged in 2016 because of it. It was argued that the "sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels," according to the American Library Association.

'I Am Jazz' by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Photo Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

"I Am Jazz" portrays a transgender child and, in 2016, had been challenged often because of the language used, sexual education and "offensive viewpoints" it presents.

'Two Boys Kissing' by David Levithan

In 2016, David Levithan's
Photo Credit: Random House Children's Books

In 2016, David Levithan's "Two Boys Kissing" had been challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content.

'Big Hard Sex Criminals' series by Matt Fraction

All three volumes of Matt Fraction's
Photo Credit: Image Comics

All three volumes of Matt Fraction's "Big Hard Sex Criminals" graphic novel series have been challenged in 2016 because they are considered sexually explicit.

'Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread' by Chuck Palahniuk

Chuck Palahniuk's
Photo Credit: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

Chuck Palahniuk's "Make Something Up: Stories You Can't Unread" features 21 stories and one novella that, in 2016, were challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness and being "disgusting and all around offensive."

'Little Bill' series by Bill Cosby

Bill Cosby's
Photo Credit: Scholastic, Inc.

Bill Cosby's "Little Bill Books" series is among the top challenged books of 2016 due to the multiple charges of sexual assault against the actor-comedian, who is expected to stand trial in June.

'Eleanor & Park' by Rainbow Rowell

Rainbow Rowell's debut young adult novel,
Photo Credit: St. Martin's Press

Rainbow Rowell's debut young adult novel, "Eleanor & Park," published in 2013, was among the most challenged books of 2016 for containing offensive language.

'Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close' by Jonathan Safran Foer

Jonathan Safran Foer's
Photo Credit: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Jonathan Safran Foer's "Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close," which follows the story of 9-year-old Oskar Schell whose father was killed during the 9/11 terror attacks, was removed from a Mattoon, Illinois, high school curriculum in 2015 because of "its use of lewd and possibly offensive materials," according to the American Library Association.

'My Princess Boy' by Cheryl Kilodavis

In 2015, Cheryl Kilodavis' children's book
Photo Credit: Aladdin

In 2015, Cheryl Kilodavis' children's book "My Princess Boy" was challenged in the Hood County Library in Granbury, Texas, for allegedly promoting "perversion" and the "gay lifestyle."

'Forever...' by Judy Blume

Judy Blume's
Photo Credit: Atheneum Books for Young Readers

Judy Blume's "Forever..." deals with teenage sexuality and birth control, and because of its content, has been on American Library Association's list of "100 Most Frequently Challenged Books" from 2000 through 2009.

'Scary Stories' series by Alvin Schwartz

Alvin Schwartz's
Photo Credit: Scholastic Inc.

Alvin Schwartz's "Scary Stories" series was the American Library Association's most challenged book of 1990 through 1999. On the list of most challenged books of 2000 through 2009, it had dropped to the seventh spot. Complaints about the book vary, but mainly parents and teachers have said that children are disturbed by the graphic stories and imagery throughout all three books in the series.

'Of Mice and Men' by John Steinbeck

John Steinbeck's 1937 novel,
Photo Credit: Penguin Publishing Group

John Steinbeck's 1937 novel, "Of Mice and Men," has been on the American Library Association's list of "100 most frequently challenged books" from 1990 through 2009. It has been challenged for a variety of reasons mostly stemming from it's use of racial slurs, profanity, violence and lack of "traditional values."

'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

The first installment in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular
Photo Credit: Scholastic, Inc.

The first installment in Suzanne Collins' wildly popular "Hunger Games" trilogy (turned into an equally successful film series) made the ALA's yearly list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books, first in 2010 and again in 2013. Its challengers cited violence, sexually explicit content and religious viewpoint as reasons, and have claimed it's unsuitable for certain age groups.

'Beloved' by Toni Morrison

The 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner was challenged at
Photo Credit: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group

The 1998 Pulitzer Prize winner was challenged at two schools over the past two years -- in 2012 at Salem High School in Salem, Michigan (where complainants called some passages "obscene"), and in 2013 at schools in Fairfax County, Virginia, because a parent complained about "scenes of bestiality, gang rape and an infant's gruesome murder" in the novel.

'Looking for Alaska' by John Green

This 2006 Printz Award winner for young adult
Photo Credit: Penguin Young Readers Group

This 2006 Printz Award winner for young adult literature was banned as required reading for Sumner County, Tennessee, schools for its "inappropriate language," first in 2012, then again the following year. In 2015 and 2016, it made the list again.

'The Family Book' by Todd Parr

An Erie, Illinois, elementary school banned this children's
Photo Credit: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

An Erie, Illinois, elementary school banned this children's book in 2012 because of its line "some families have two moms or two dads."

'500 Years of Chicano History in Pictures' by Elizabeth Martinez

In the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona,
Photo Credit: SouthWest Organizing Project

In the Tucson Unified School District in Arizona, where more than 60 percent of students have Mexican-American heritage, the school board removed this and other "offending" books in 2012 when it dismantled its Mexican-American Studies program. Activists plan to appeal a federal court's ruling that upheld most provisions of the Arizona state law used to prohibit the curriculum.

'A Child Called "It" ' by Dave Pelzer

In the 2013 school year, students at Housel
Photo Credit: BookRags.com

In the 2013 school year, students at Housel Middle School in Prosser, Washington, had to have parental permission to check out this best-selling memoir because of its graphic nature of child abuse described by the author.

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

The beloved coming-of-age story that talks of drugs,
Photo Credit: MTV Books

The beloved coming-of-age story that talks of drugs, alcohol, sex, homosexuality and abuse was challenged as assigned reading at Ohio's Grandview Heights High School in 2004, 2006-2009, 2013 and 2014.

'The Kite Runner' by Khaled Hosseini

This critically acclaimed story about a boy growing
Photo Credit: Penguin Publishing Group

This critically acclaimed story about a boy growing up in the Middle East was challenged -- in 2008, 2012 and 2014 -- as optional reading for 10th-graders in an honors class at Troy, Pennsylvania, area schools because of a graphic rape scene and profanity.

'The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test' by Tom Wolfe

This nonfiction account of Tom Wolfe's cross-country road
Photo Credit: Picador

This nonfiction account of Tom Wolfe's cross-country road trip and his drug experiences along the way was challenged on the Emmaus (Pennsylvania) High School's 10th-grade summer reading list in 2012.

'Prep' by Curtis Sittenfeld

The Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania, in 2012,
Photo Credit: Random House Publishing Group

The Emmaus High School in Pennsylvania, in 2012, deemed this coming-of-age story "too mature for ninth-graders," and moved it from the ninth-grade summer reading list to the 12th-grade AP reading list.

'Fight Club' by Chuck Palahniuk

Complaints from parents in Katy, Texas, about the
Photo Credit: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.

Complaints from parents in Katy, Texas, about the violent, explicit nature of the book that inspired the 1999 Brad Pitt film led to its removal (in 2012) from the Independent School District's required reading list.

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