28 February, 2021

Why Do You Not Want People To Read This Book?

The list of works of literature sought to be censored over the last decade offers an insight into the conflicted American mind: an unease with difficult truth-telling.

Why Do You Not Want People To Read This Book?

Toni Morrison is on the list. So are John Green and Harper Lee. And John Steinbeck and Margaret Atwood. All wrote books that were among the 100 most subjected to censorship over the past decade, as compiled by the American Library Association. Sherman Alexie’s prize-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian came in at No. 1, followed by Dav Pilkey’s Captain Underpants picture book series and Jay Asher’s young adult novel Thirteen Reasons Why. Objections raised by parents and community members have ranged from explicit language and depictions of drug use in Alexie’s novel to Asher’s theme of suicide. “Many also reflect a growing trend in recent years to challenge books by people of colour and by the LGBTQ community,” says Deborah Caldwell-Stone, director, library association’s office for intellectual freedom. Examples include Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, about a Black girl raped by her father and Justin Richardson’s and Peter Parnell’s picture book about two gay...

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