Toni Morrison, Sherman Alexie, Lois Lowry, Sandra Cisneros.
The names sound like they could be entries on a list of America’s greatest writers. But they have something different in common: They’re all authors of some of the most frequently challenged or banned young adult novels in America.
This is Banned Books Week, which this year focuses on young adult fiction. The ALA released a list of the 10 most frequently challenged young adult books over the last year, and the titles will be familiar to anyone who pays attention to book challenges in America’s schools and libraries.
Taking the No. 1 spot is Alexie’s “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” a perennial favorite of would-be censors. It’s followed by Marjane Satrapi’s “Persepolis” and Morrison’s “The Bluest Eye.”
The list was drawn from data collected by the American Library Assn., one of Banned Books Week’s eight sponsors.
“An Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” and “Persepolis” also topped the list of the most challenged or banned books of 2014. Alexie’s book has been challenged for multiple reasons, including sexual content, profanity, gambling and depictions of bullying. Satrapi’s book came under fire for similar reasons, with one complaint calling the book “politically, racially, and socially offensive.”
“The Bluest Eye,” Morrison’s debut novel, was challenged because of its sexual content. The novel is about a young girl who is raped by her father.
Banned Books Week was started in 1982, and is now observed by libraries, schools and bookstores across the country. The campaign says that more than 11,300 books have been challenged since the first Banned Books Week.
The list of the 10 most challenged young adult novels from 2014-15 follows.
1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” Sherman Alexie
2. “Persepolis,” Marjane Satrapi
3. “The Bluest Eye,” Toni Morrison
4. “The Kite Runner,” Khaled Hosseini
5. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” Stephen Chbosky
6. “Drama,” Raina Telgemeier
7. “Chinese Handcuffs,” Chris Crutcher
8. “The Giver,” Lois Lowry
9. “The House on Mango Street,” Sandra Cisneros
10. “Looking for Alaska,” John Green