Responding to the Meese commission's official approval of pressure-group
censorship, Waldenbooks staged a promotion featuring 52 volumes that had
been "challenged, burned or banned somewhere in the United States in the
last 15 years." The titles and the reasons for outrage against these books
are so astounding that we decided to publish the complete list.
THE BASTARD, by John Jakes. Removed from Montour (Pennsylvania) High School
BLOODLINE, by Sidney Sheldon. Challenged in Abingdon, Virginia, 1980;
Elizabethton, Tennessee, 1981.
BRAVE NEW WORLD, by Aldous Huxley. Removed from classroom, Miller,
Missouri, 1980. Challenged frequently throughout the U.S.
CARRIE, by Stephen King. Considered "trash" that is especially harmful for
"younger girls." Challenged by Clark High School library, Las Vegas,
Nevada, 1975. Placed on special closed shelf in Union High School library,
Vergennes, Vermont, 1978.
THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, by J.D. Salinger. Considered "dangerous" because of
vulgarity, occultism, violence and sexual content. Banned in Freeport High
School, DeFuniak Springs, Florida, 1985. Removed from Issaquah, Washington,
optional high school reading list, 1978; required reading list,
Middleville, Michingan, 1979.; Jackson-Milton school libraries, North
Jackson, Ohio, 1980; Anniston, Alabama, high school libraries, 1982.
Challenged by Libby (Montana) High School, 1983.
CATCH-22, by Joseph Heller. Considered "dangerous" because of objectionable
language. Banned in Strongsville, Ohio, 1972 (overturned in 1976).
Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school
libraries, 1974, and by Snoqualmie, Washington, 1979.
THE CLAN OF THE CAVE BEAR, by Jean M. Auel. Challenged by numerous public
A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, by Anthony Burgess. "Objectionable" language. Removed
from Westport, Rhode Island, high school classrooms, 1977; Aurora,
Colorado, high school classrooms, 1976; Anniston, Alabama, high school
THE COLOR PURPLE, by Alice Walker. Considered inappropriate because of its
"troubling ideas about race relations, man's relationship to God, African
history and human sexuality." Challenged by Oakland, California, high
school honors class, 1984; rejected for purchase by Hayward, California,
THE CRUCIBLE, by Arthur Miller. Considered dangerous because it contains
"sick words from the mouths of demon-possessed people." Challenged by
Cumberland Valley High School, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1982.
CUJO, by Stephen King. Profanity and strong sexual content cited as reasons
for opposition. Banned by Washington County, Alabama, Board of Education,
1985; challenged by Rankin County, Mississippi, School District, 1984;
removed from Bradford, New York, school library, 1985; rejected for
purchase by Hayward, California, school trustees, 1985.
DEATH OF A SALESMAN, by Arthur Miller. Cited for profanity. Banned by
Spring Valley Community High School, French Lick, Indiana, 1981; challenged
by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974.
THE DEVIL'S ALTERNATE, by Frederick Forsyth. Removed by Evergreen School
District, Vancouver, Washington, 1983.
THE DIARY OF A YOUNG GIRL, by Anne Frank. Objections to sexually offensive
passages. Challenged by Wise County, Virginia, 1982; Alabama State Book
EAST OF EDEN, by John Steinbeck. Considered "ungodly and obscene." Removed
from Anniston, Alabama, high school libraries, 1982; Morris, Manitoba,
school libraries, 1982.
A FAREWELL TO ARMS, by Ernest Hemingway. Labeled as a "sex novel."
Challenged by Dallas, Texas, Independent School District high school
libraries, 1974; Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980.
FIRESTARTER, by Stephen King. Cited for "graphic descriptions of sexual
acts, vulgar language and violence." Challenged by Campbell County,
Wyoming, school system, 1983-1984.
FLOWERS FOR ALGERNON, by Daniel Keyes. Explicit, distasteful love scenes
cited among reasons for opposition. Banned by Plant City, Florida, 1976;
Emporium, Pennsylvania, 1977; Glen Rose (Arkansas) High School library,
1981. Challenged by Oberlin (Ohio) High School, 1983; Glenrock (Wyoming)
High School, 1984.
FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC, by V.C. Andrews. Considered "dangerous" because it
contains "offensive passages concerning incest and sexual intercourse."
Challenged by Richmond (Rhode Island) High School, 1983.
FOREVER, by Judy Blume. Detractors cite its "four-letter words and [talk]
about masturbation, birth control and disobedience to parents." Challenged
by Midvalley Junior-Senior High School library, Scranton, Pennsylvania,
1982; Orlando, Florida, schools, 1982; Akron, Ohio, School District
libraries, 1983; Howard-Suamico (Wisconsin) High School, 1983; Holdredge,
Nebraska, Public Library, 1984; Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Public Library, 1984;
Patrick County, Virginia, School Board, 1986; Park Hill (Missouri) South
Junior High School library, 1982.
THE GRAPES OF WRATH, by John Steinbeck. Considered "dangerous" because of
obscene language and the unfavorable depiction of a former minister. Banned
in Kanawha, Iowa, 1980; Morris, Manitoba, 1982. Challenged by Vernon-
Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Richford, Vermonth, 1991.
HARRIET THE SPY, by Louise Fitzhugh. Considered "dangerous" because it
"teaches children to lie, spy, back-talk and curse." Challenged by Xenia,
Ohio, school libraries, 1983.
HUCKLEBERRY FINN, by Mark Twain. Consdiered "dangerous" because of
objectionable language and "racist" terms and content. Challenged by
Winnetka, Illinois, 1976; Warrington, Pennsylvania, 1981; Davenport, Iowa,
1981; Fairfax County, Virginia, 1982; Houston, Texas, 1982; State College,
Pennsylvania, area school district, 1983; Springfield, Illinois, 1984;
Waukegan, Illinois, 1984.
I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS, by Maya Angelou. Considered "dangerous"
because it preaches "bitterness and hatred against whites." Challenged by
Alabama State Textbook Committee, 1983.
IGGIE'S HOUSE, by Judy Blume. Challenged by Caspar, Wyoming, school
IT'S OKAY IF YOU DON'T LOVE ME, by Norma Klein. Considered "dangerous"
because it portrays "sex as the only thing on your people's minds." Banned
in Haywood County, California, 1981. Removed by Widefield (Colorado) High
School, 1983; Vancouver, Washington, School District, 1984.
THE LIVING BIBLE, by William C. Bower. Considered "dangerous" because it is
"a perverted commentary on the King James Version." Burned in Gastonia,
North Carolina, 1981.
LORD OF THE FLIES, by William Golding. Considered "demoralizing inasmuch as
it implies that man is little more than an animal." Challenged by Dallas,
Texas, Independent School District high school libraries, 1974; Sully
Buttes (South Dakota) High School, 1981; Owen (North Carolina) High School,
1981; Marana (Arizona) High School, 1983; Olney, Texas, Independent School
LOVE IS ONE OF THE CHOICES, by Norma Klein. Removed from Evergreen School
District, Vancouver, Washington, 1983.
THE MARTIAN CHRONICLES, by Ray Bradbury. Profanity and the use of God's
name in vain sparked opposition to this novel. Challenged by Haines City
(Florida) High School, 1982.
MATARESE CIRCLE, by Robert Ludlum. "Unnecessarily rough language and sexual
descriptions" caused opposition to this novel. Restricted (to students with
parental consent) by Pierce (Nebraska) High School, 1983.
THE MERCHANT OF VENICE, by William Shakespeare. Objections to purported
anti-Semitism. Banned by Midland, Michigan, classrooms, 1980.
NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR, by George Orwell. Objections to pro-Communist
material and explicit sexual matter. Challenged by Jackson County, Florida,
OF MICE AND MEN, by John Steinbeck. Considered "dangerous" because of its
profanity and "vulgar language." Banned in Syracuse, Indiana, 1974; Oil
City, Pennsylvania, 1977; Grand Blanc, Michigan, 1979; Continental, Ohio,
1980l Skyline High School, Scottsboro, Alabama, 1983. Challenged by
Greenville, South Carolina, 1977; Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School
District, 1980; St. David, Arizona, 1981; Telly City, Indiana, 1982;
Knoxville, Tennessee, School Board, 1984.
ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH, by Alexander Solzhenitsyn.
Objectionable language. Removed by Milton (New Hampshire) High School
library, 1976. Challenged by Mahwah, New Jersey, 1976; Omak, Washington,
1979; Mohawk Trail Regional High School, Buckland, Massachusetts, 1981.
ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, by Ken Kesey. Removed from required
reading list by Westport, Massachusetts, 1977. Banned by Freemont High
School, St. Anthony, Idaho. (Instructor was fired.) Challenged by Merrimack
(New Hampshire) High School, 1982.
ORDINARY PEOPLE, bu Judith Guest. Called "obscene" and "depressing." Banned
(temporarily) by Merrimack (New Hampshire) High School, 1982.
OTHERWISE KNOWN AS SHEILA THE GREAT, by Judy Blume. Challenged by Caspar,
Whyoming, school libraries, 1984.
THE PIGMAN, by Paul Zindel. Considered "dangerous" because it features
"liars, cheaters and stealers." Challenged by Hillsboro, Missouri, School
THE RED PONY, by John Steinbeck. Called a "filthy, trashy sex novel."
Challenged by Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School District, 1980.
THE SEDUCTION OF PETER S., by Lawrence Sanders. Called "blatantly graphic,
pornographic and wholly unacceptable for a high school library." Burned by
Stroudsburg (Pennsylvania) High School library, 1985.
A SEPARATE PEACE, by John Knowles. Detractors cite offensive language and
sex as dangerous elements in this novel. Challenged by Vernon-Verona-
Sherill, New York, School District, 1980; Fannett-Metal High School,
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania, 1985.
THE SHINING, by Stephen King. Considered dangerous because it "contains
violence and demonic possession and ridicules the Christian religion."
Challenged by Campbell County, Wyoming, school system, 1983. Banned by
Washington County, Alabama, Board of Education, 1985.
SILAS MARNER, by George Eliot. Banned by Union High School, Anaheim,
SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE, by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. Considered "dangerous" because
of violent, irreverent, profane and sexually explicit content. Burned in
Drake, North Carolina, 1973; Rochester, Michigan, 1972; Levittown, New
York, 1975; North Jackson, Ohio, 1979; Lakeland, Florida, 1982. Barred from
purchase by Washington Park High School, Racine, Wisconsin, 1984.
Challenged by Owensboro (Kentucky) High School library, 1985.
SUPERFUDGE, by Judy Blume. Disapproval based on "profane, immoral and
offensive" content. Challenged by Caspar, Wyoming, school libraries, 1984;
Bozeman, Montana, school libraries, 1985.
THAT WAS THEN, THIS IS NOW, by S.E. Hinton. Objections to "graphic
language, subject matter, immoral tone and lack of literary quality."
Challenged by Pagosa Springs, Colorado, 1983.
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, by Harper Lee. Considered "dangerous" because of
profanity and undermining of race relations. Challenged (temporaily banned)
in Eden Valley, Minnesota, 1977; Vernon-Verona-Sherill, New York, School
District, 1980; Warren, Indiana, township schools, 1981; Waukegan,
Illinois, School District, 1984; Kansas City, Missouri, junior high
schools, 1985; Park Hill (Missouri) Junior High School, 1985. Protested by
black parents and NAACP in Casa Grande (Arizona) Elementary School
ULYSSES, by James Joyce. "Given its long history of censorship, ULYSSES
has rarely been selected for high school libraries." --Judith Krug,
director, Office for Intellectual Freedom, American Library Association,
UNCLE TOM'S CABIN, by Harriet B. Stowe. Use of the word nigger caused
opposition. Challenged by Waukegan, Illinois, School District, 1984.
WHERE THE SIDEWALK ENDS, by Shel Silverstein. Considered by opponents to
undermine parental, school and religious authority. Pulled from shelves for
review by Minot, North Dakota, public school libraries, 1986. Challenged by
Xenia, Ohio, school libraries, 1983.
Sources for all of the above information: American Library Association
RESOURCE BOOK FOR BANNED BOOK WEEK 1986 and the NEWSLETTER ON INTELLECTUAL
FREEDOM, published by the Office for Intellectual Freedom. Complete
documentation is available from the American Library Association.