There are some authors that are banned almost without trying. Here is a feature about a new and more uncommon author, an old controversial favorite, and a contemporary author who writes about the big issues.
The Little Bill Series, a series of readers written for Bill Cosby’s kid’s TV series, features a young boy learning about the world. The challenges against this book series made it the 9th most challenged/banned book in the United States in 2016.
These challenges are atypical for Banned Books week because the content is not controversial in any way. In fact, the series was lauded for many years and used by educators and librarians alike. Bill Cosby was accused of drugging and assaulting a woman, with a public trial that swept through the public media.
This unreliable author example follows other examples of books that were declared misrepresented or inaccurate, with readers unsure how to respond. Three Cups of Tea faced a similar problem after it was determined that many of the facts were misrepresented. Should authors be pulled from the shelves when their personal lives show a different side of them than their art?
See more information here about this unusual challenge.
Banned Books Week is a primarily American week, which brings up something that many Americans are squeamish about: books about sex. One author that has been banned over and over again because of the coming of age and sexual themes? Judy Blume.
Judy Blume has been one of the most frequently challenged authors in the 21st century. She is known for her honest and direct talk about masturbation, periods, sex, and birth control, even though she has had to update the vocabulary with updated printings (belts and pins became sticky pads and maybe will become tampons). Readers have thanked her for telling them things they never knew from their parents… just as many more threatened her with physical harm.
Sexual content is available on any device at any time in this world, but Judy Blume offers in her books a stream of consciousness that may mirror that of the reader. Is there value in experiencing sexuality and fears through fiction such as this?
See an article about the works of Judy Blume here.
There are some authors that have several, if not all, of their books challenged time and again. John Green, Judy Blume, R.L. Stine, and Toni Morrison have all had the majority of their works challenged, just to name a few.
Chris Crutcher is among the authors challenged across the board. His works generally involve young athletes struggling with teen issues and family or friend problems, and typically end with some success at the big final game or match of the season. Often, his books cover so many issues that they have become a part of required reading or curriculum, which often leads to more challenges.
His books, like many books geared toward young adults, have been challenged for sexual content, language, drugs, and more, and have been said to “offend adult sensibilities.” In fact, some theorize that YA books are popular because they offend adult sensibilities. Should books be written as offensive in order to encourage reading?
See the article: Chris Crutcher: Hero or Villain here.