Bone, Jeff Smith's critically acclaimed fantasy adventure about three cousins swept up in epic populated by dragons, rat creatures and evil forces, was among the books most frequently challenged last year in schools and libraries.
The news comes from the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom, which has released its annual Top 10 List of Frequently Challenged Books as part of National Library Week. In 2013, the organization received 307 reports on attempts to remove or restrict materials from library bookshelves and school curricula across the United States. That's down from 464 official challenges in 2012.
Bone came in at No. 10 on the list, which was led once again by Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series and populated by the likes of Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eyes and Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower (see the full rundown below). The last comic to make the list was Kim Dong Hwa's The Color of Earth in 2011.
The ALA's 2014 State of American Libraries Report doesn't cite specific challenges to Bone or reveal how many there have been, but it does offer broad reasons for the objections: "political viewpoint, racism, violence."
Although the challenges last year apparently failed to attract media attention, there was a good deal of coverage of complaint filed in 2010 by a parent in suburban Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota, objecting to the depictions of drinking, smoking, gambling and sexual situations in Bone. However, a school district committee voted 10-1 to keep the books on library shelves. (There's a Comic Book Legal Defense Fund case study, if you're interested.)
Here's the Top 10 List of Frequently Challenged Books of 2013:
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav PilkeyReasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
- The Bluest Eye, by Toni MorrisonReasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violenc
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman AlexieReasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. JamesReasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- The Hunger Games, by Suzanne CollinsReasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
- A Bad Boy Can Be Good for a Girl, by Tanya Lee StoneReasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green Reasons:Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen ChboskyReasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
- Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo AnayaReasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
- Bone (series), by Jeff SmithReasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence