Cap­tain Un­der­pants tops list of ‘chal­lenged’ books

Calgary Herald - Calgary Herald New Condos - - Books - HIL­LEL ITALIE

NEW YORK — The potty hu­mour of Cap­tain Un­der­pants chil­dren’s books and the ma­ture ex­plo­ration of race and fam­ily vi­o­lence by No­bel lau­re­ate Toni Mor­ri­son in The Bluest Eye would seem to have lit­tle in com­mon.

But among some par­ents, ed­u­ca­tors and other mem­bers of the pub­lic who worry about what books are stocked at their lo­cal li­braries, the works fall into the same cat­e­gory — they’re just too of­fen­sive and should be re­stricted or re­moved from the shelves.

The Amer­i­can Li­brary As­so­ci­a­tion pub­lished its an­nual State of the Li­braries re­port this week, which in­cluded its list of works most fre­quently “chal­lenged” last year at schools and li­braries.

Dav Pilkey’s best­selling pic­ture book se­ries topped the list, just as his Cap­tain Un­der­pants did in 2012. The rea­sons cited in­cluded “of­fen­sive lan­guage” and ma­te­rial un­suited for its tar­geted age group.

The Bluest Eye, Mor­ri­son’s first novel, was run­ner-up, also crit­i­cized for lan­guage, along with vi­o­lence and sex­ual con­tent. Sher­man Alexie’s prize-win­ning The Ab­so­lutely True Diary of a Part­Time In­dian, a peren­nial on the list, was No. 3, for rea­sons in­clud­ing drug ref­er­ences, sex­ual con­tent and racism.

Pilkey said in a state­ment is­sued by his pub­lisher, Scholas­tic Inc., that he found it sur­pris­ing “that a se­ries with no sex, no nu­dity, no and the drugs, no pro­fanTer­ri­fy­ing ity and no more Re­turn of Tippy vi­o­lence than a Tin­kletrouser­s Su­per­man carDav Pilkey toon has caused Scholas­tic such an up­roar.

“Of course, only a tiny per­cent­age of adults are com­plain­ing. Kids love the books, and for­tu­nately most par­ents and ed­u­ca­tors do, too,” he said.

Cap­tain Un­der­pants

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