And the Banned Played On

It’s Banned Books Week once again, the American Library Association’s annual celebration of the freedom to read. As you might imagine, LGBT-inclusive children’s books are high on the list of works that have people have tried to have removed from libraries and schools across the country.

Each year, the ALA tracks the books that have garnered such challenges. And Tango Makes Three, about two male penguins who raise a chick together, has topped the list in both 2006 and 2007.


Other LGBT-inclusive works among the 100 most-challenged books between 2000 and 2007 include Heather Has Two Mommies, King & King, and, for older readers, The Color Purple and Rainbow Boys.

Not yet on the list, but sure to be included when the 2008 challenges are totaled after the end of the year, is Uncle Bobby’s Wedding, about two gay guinea pigs and their niece. I’ve written about this book and its challenges several times before.

Uncle Bobby can at least take comfort that he is not the first furry creature to face controversy over his nuptials. The Rabbits’ Wedding, Garth Williams’ 1958 story of a black and a white rabbit who marry, caused something of an uproar in the South at the time, where it was removed from libraries or transferred to reserve shelves because people saw it as promoting interracial marriage.

Plus ça change. . . .

What are your favorite challenged books? Does Harry Potter really make you want to abandon a mainstream faith and turn to witchcraft? If so, is that really such a bad thing?

4 thoughts on “And the Banned Played On

  1. I did not like

    King and King…ugly illustrations and the story was just weird. Heather has 2 Mommies is a bit heavy handed and dated. And Tango Makes Three is great! My kids love love love that book. Still trying to find Uncle Bobby’s Wedding at our local library. I put in a request for it so it may be just a requisition issue. I’ll go double check today!

    For adults, Zora Neale Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God is a good one – I really found Janie to be a lesbian role-model of sorts. Color Purple – the book, not the movie – was touching, too. What about Fried Green Tomatoes? I only saw the movie, anyone read the book?

    I love your last two questions…good stuff!

    • I love Their Eyes Were Watching God

      Had to read it in high school, reread it since. I never picked up on the lesbian role model bit. What am I missing?

      • I don’t recall the specifics

        but the relationship between Janie and Phoeby felt like it was very much within a lesbian framework…will have to re-read and find a paper I wrote about it for a Women’s Lit undergrad class…

  2. more…

    Two more books have come under recent criticism:

    -The Freedom Writers Diary (teacher nearly fired for using it in her class)

    -Twilight series about vampires/teen romance (once banned in Calif., now allowed again)

    Saw stories about both of them on DetentionSlip.org

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