Captain Underpants tops list of ‘challenged’ books
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.