Friday, September 26, 2014

Banned Books in Big Sky Country

Today is the beginning of the end for Banned Books Weeks 2014.  Earlier this week, I was able to attend a little presentation regarding the banned and challenged books in my home state of Montana (aka Big Sky Country).  I am now sharing a handful of these interesting facts with all of you!  But, before I get started, let's first take a look at a quick little video courtesy of the ACLU (American Civil Liberties Union) . . .

Wasn't that a fun video?!?

For those that are unaware, the banning of books in the United States in general is very rare.  Challenging books, on the other hand, are not.  Here are a few facts behind the challenges of Montana . . . 

The MOST challenged BOOK is Fool's Crow by James Welch.  However, Sherman Alexie's Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is quickly moving closer to the top of the list.

The MOST challenged AUTHOR is Judy Blume.

PARENTS make up the majority of the population that bring forth the challenges against books.  And, most of the challenges occur in SCHOOL libraries and/or curriculum.

The most frequent complaint that leads to challenges is SEX.  However, other topics that tend to be raised are violence, evolution, and even the disbelief in the Holocaust.

Though challenges do tend to come from the more CONSERVATIVE population, complaints are not completely one-sided; any and all perspectives are represented in challenges.

The FIRST documented challenge occurred in 1902 and involved the controversial book, The Story of Mary Maclane by Mary MacLane herself.

In 1996, The Giver by Lois Lowry was challenged in one community, resulting in a decision to LIMIT the book to certain age groups.

In 2002, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou was challenged.  The resulting decision was to keep the book a part of the curriculum, but also to offer an ALTERNATE option to students.

Though most of the books challenged remain, there have been two items that have been completely REMOVED from some school curriculums or libraries:  Fool's Crow by James Welch and Rolling Stone magazine.

I leave you with a fabulous video from author Dav Pilkey, the author behind Captain Underpants, one of the most challenged books in the country.  It is a great message that I agree with 100%!

Are you aware of the ban and challenge facts in your own state?  What books do you hear being challenged the most in your own area?


  1. Tif, I've never looked into what my state, in particular, has banned or challenged, but I think the practice is something that, although many years ago may have been more effective, is simply ridiculous. I understand the need to categorize books so people can make an informed decision, but that's what it's all about really---choice. Love this video by Dav Pilkey! I put it on my "Banned Books Week" blog post, too :D

    1. ... I completely agree. Just because you don't want to read a book (or have your child read a book), doesn't mean that you should restrict what I read or what I let my kids read!!

  2. Love that video and this really makes me curious what the stats are for my state!

    1. Kimberly Lynne ... I always enjoy seeing the national statistics, but this was a new perspective for me that I really enjoyed!


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