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100 Scope Notes
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ALA Most Freqently Challenged Books 2013

It was Bookshelves of Doom who alerted me to the just-released list of the most challenged books of 2013. Here are the top five:

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James
Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group

Click here to see the rest of the list.

Captain Underpants retains the number one spot for the second year. Somewhere, Dav Pilkey is smiling. Other than that, not too many surprises here. One notable addition is Jeff Smith’s Bone series at #10 – I believe it’s that series first appearance on the list.

(Top Image: ‘Against Banned Books (Please Spread This Pic+&+The+Text)

About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.


  1. Captain Underpants for the win! Ah, great literature has always escaped small minds. It takes a highly discerning reader to appreciate the subtle brilliance of Dav Pilkey.

  2. American Library Association fakes that list. I recorded an awarded author admitting as much. The reality is the “bannings” are so few in number as to be non newsworthy. That is why ALA never reveals exact numbers. In 2010 it said And Tango Make Three was challenged “dozens” of times. The truth? Four. Four, not dozens. The wording was left intentionally vague. By “dozens” they wanted to imply dozens of times in 2010, and it worked. In reality, it was only 4 times, across the entire USA, all year. A non news event. Hence the need to lie. The “dozens” was really over all years, not just 2010, and still does not reveal how many. 13 could be “dozens” depending on how you manipulate the language. The current list also implies a huge number of book “bannings.” In reality, the last book banning in the USA was in 1963, over half a Century ago.

    The worst thing about this is the faking of the discrimination of the LGBT community. Such fake discrimination results in increased actual discrimination and LGBT suicides. And Tango Makes Three was on the list 5 years in a row, at or next to the top. It dropped off only after I exposed how ALA is faking LGBT discrimination simply to use the LGBT community to amplify its message.

  3. I don’t think 50 Shades of Gray is meant for kids or teens. It’s not YA, is it?