Thank you, Harry Potter!  You and your satanistic ways have surpassed "homosexual content" as a challenge to library books across the nation. 

According to the American Library Association, the Harry Potter series is at the top of the list (2000-2005) of books targeted to be removed from libraries.  Recognize any of the others?

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

2. "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier

3. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

4. "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck

5. "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou

6. "Fallen Angels" by Walter Dean Myers

7. "It's Perfectly Normal" by Robie Harris

8. Scary Stories series by Alvin Schwartz

9. Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

10. "Forever" by Judy Blume

I've read Hary Potter, Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, and Forever (good grief - is Judy Blume still controversial b/c of the most innocuous love scene ever written?). 

I surfed over to (be my friend if you want!) for more information on the other books.  "It's Perfectly Normal" is a children's book about sexuality that discusses homosexual and masturbation in an age-appropriate, healthy way.  The Alice series briefly mentions (and supports) both homosexuality and <gasp> interracial dating. 

The rundown on complaints?

1,607 for "sexually explicit" material

1,427 for "offensive language"

1,256 for material considered "unsuited to age group"

842 for material with an "occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism"

737 for material considered "violent"

515 for material with a homosexual theme or "promoting homosexuality"

419 for material "promoting a religious viewpoint."

The group lists as other stated reasons: "nudity" (317 challenges), "racism" (267 challenges), "sex education" (224 challenges) and "anti-family" (202 challenges).

I suppose you could say what a sad world we live in when sexual language and activity is more threatening to parents (and groups) than books with violent or racist themes.  However, like most rational adults, I would prefer to be the one selecting what books are appropriate for my child (and myself), not some wingnut fringe anti-gay, sex-fearing, God-lovin' group of loonies. 

You know what book freaked me out when I was young?  Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton.  That was a seriously psychologically scary book for a 15 year old.  And our dreary old literature instructor, Mr. Ludwig, didn't help matters -- he was the kind of guy who would say "Write a 750 word essay ..." to a bunch of 15 year olds and then yell at us when we counted the words.  Not the best way to teach an appreciation of literature (or critical writing skills). 

For fun, check out the Captain Underpants website. 

So I'm going to add some of the "banned" books to my GoodReads list.  The Chocolate War and Fallen Angels sound particularly interesting. 

Any books freak you out when you were a youngster?