Challenged, but not Forgotten

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

Huckleberry Finn is the 5th most challenged book, according to a list of the top 100 challenged books from 1990 – 1999 published by the ALA.

 There’s a few Judy Blume books in there, the Goosebumps series, and, of course, Harry Potter.

These books haven’t been banned, mind you, but challenged.  Which is an interesting point to make.  That while challenges are often made by concerned parents to have a book removed, and schools generally convene a review board to hear the complaint and render a decision, a small percentage of the books are actually banned.

The ALA lists Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.  In that list, a scant few have been removed from a library, and the majority of those cases have been overturned. 

According to a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece about Banned Books Week, on 10% of the challenges are actually successful.

This from the ALA Site:

“Censorship can be subtle, almost imperceptible, as well as blatant and overt, but, nonetheless, harmful. As John Stuart Mill wrote in On Liberty:

‘If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. ‘”

So: good for the people issuing the challenges.  And good for us that we discuss those challenges.  And good for the many, many times that the books continue to exist, allowing greater discussions to occur.

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