Banned Books’ World: Oz Is a No-Man’s-Land

The American Library Assn. last week marked its seventh annual Banned Books Week, a campaign designed to focus attention on the dangers of censorship.

The association maintains a group that monitors all attempts to ban books at libraries and schools nationwide. Some of the titles from its 1987-88 list of “Books Some People Consider Dangerous” include:

* “The Wizard of Oz” by Lyman Frank Baum, challenged in Church Hill, Tenn., and the subject of more than 400 other objections for its alleged promotion of secular humanism.

* “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck, the most frequent target of complaints of offensive language; deemed “junk” in some West Virginia school districts.


* “Bloods: An Oral History of the Vietnam War by Black Veterans” by Wallace Terry, banned in some Florida schools because it poses a “moral danger.”

* “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes, banned from classroom use in Lake City, Fla., because of its “sexuality and vulgar language.”

* “Homemaking: Skills for Everyday Living” by Frances Baynor, removed from Alabama’s list of approved texts as a promoter of secular humanism.

* “A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein, challenged in Delaware because it “idealizes death.”


* “Forever” by Judy Blume, challenged in Moreno Valley, Calif., on grounds that it “contains profanity, sexual situations and themes that allegedly encourage disrespectful behavior.”