Tag: sexual abuse

10 Most Challenged Books of 2020

Every year, the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom releases a list of the top ten most banned or challenged books of the year. They take surveys and reports from libraries, schools, and independent media; and even then, they reported that “82-97% of book challenges remain unreported and receive no media.”

That being said, of the 273 books the ALA saw mentioned as being challenged, these are those that were the most recurrent.

 

  1. George by Alex Gino

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

George focuses on a young, born male, child who knows deep down she is a girl. When the class puts on Charlotte’s Web, George goes through challenges to try and audition for the role of Charlotte.

Despite being an overall hopeful story, this book was restricted, challenged, and banned for LBGTQIA+ content, religious standards, and not “reflecting the values of our community.”

 

2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

From Amazon, “The construct of race has always been used to gain and keep power, to create dynamics that separate and silence. This remarkable reimagining of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi’s National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning reveals the history of racist ideas in America, and inspires hope for an antiracist future. It takes you on a race journey from then to now, shows you why we feel how we feel, and why the poison of racism lingers. It also proves that while racist ideas have always been easy to fabricate and distribute, they can also be discredited.”

This novel has been banned or challenged because of public statements from both authors, a claim of limited storytelling that does not encompass the full picture, and because it “does not encompass racism against all people.”

 

 

3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kelly

All American Boys
Image Via BPS EdTech Team

This novel centers on a 16-year old boy who is mistakenly arrested, violently at that, for shoplifting at a bodega where he was just shopping. The story follows the victim, Rashad, as well as the adopted son of the cop, Quinn, as they must grow up quickly and learn to deal with the reality of police brutality.

All American Boys was banned for a myriad of reasons, including: drug use, alcoholism, anti-police views, and because the topic was “too sensitive” for the times.

 

4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Laurie Halse Anderson's 'Speak'
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Speak is a novel about a freshman in high school learning to be herself and grow in the face of trauma. It is a story of healing against all odds and learning to use your voice to stand up for yourself.

This classic novel was banned or challenged because it was said to be “anti-men” and for its inclusion of sexual assault.

 

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This National Book Award winning novel follows Junior, a boy who grows up on an Indian reservation, but transfers to a public school for high school. The school is almost all white, and the only other Indian is the school’s mascot.

This was banned for profanity, sexual references, and alleged misconduct by the author.

 

6. Something Happened in Our Town (A Child’s Story of Racial Injustice) by Marianne Celano

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This children’s story follows two families, one white and one black, as they try to understand a police shooting in their town.

This important story was banned or challenged because of what was thought to be anti-police views. Are you sensing a common theme here yet?

 

 

 

7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

IMAGE VIA AMAZON

If you’re unfamiliar, To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the Finch family: children Scout and Jem and their father, acclaimed lawyer, Atticus. Set in the Great Depression, the children are forced into a situation of watching racism unfold in the justice system as Atticus defends a black man for a crime it is clear he did not commit.

Though this book has been a staple in high school literature classes, it was still challenged for its racial slurs, the image of the “white savior,” and for a negative portrayal of the black experience.

 

8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

Of Mice and Men book cover
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

Another classic, this novel follows two brothers, one neurodivergent, as they pursue their dreams of opening their own farm and ranch.

This book is yet another banned for racial slurs.

 

9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

the Bluest Eye
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

The first novel by the beloved (pun-intended) author Toni Morrison, this story follows Pecola, a young girl who wishes for blue eyes so that the world will see her differently.

Contrary to the other books in this list about racial issues, this book was actually banned for sexual abuse and misconduct.

 

10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

the hate u give book cover
IMAGE VIA AMAZON

This modern classic follows Starr, a young African American teen caught between two worlds: that of her home in the hood, and that of her primarily white private school. When one of Starr’s friends is killed in an incident of police brutality, Starr must face this divide head on and decide where her loyalties lie.

This book was, again, banned for anti-police messaging amongst profanity as well. Thomas described the ban as a “badge of honor.”

 

~~~

 

Did these bans serve purpose, or are they merely trying to stifle the harsher truths of a modern country riddled with injustice?

How do you feel about banning books? Let us know!

 

Feature Article with Images from Amazon
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Matthew McConaughey Reveals He Was Sexually Abused in His New Memoir “Greenlights”

In his new memoir, Greenlights, Matthew McConaughey defines moments in his life as green, yellow, or red lights (hence the title) that caused him to move forward, pause, or stop. The actor shares the valuable life lessons he’s learned from these experiences, whether they were green light or red light moments. In the memoir, the actor reveals and discusses the sexual abuse he experienced as a teenager.

Read more

Hachette Controversy Update

You may recall our article from last week on the controversy over Hachette’s choice to publish a memoir from accused sexual abuser Woody Allen.

As of our last article, protests were merely hypothetical, but the book community did take a stand, and Hachette employees in New York and Boston even walked out in protest, according to the BBC.

Hachette’s initial reaction to objections from Allan’s own son, renown investigative journalist Ronan Farrow (see our original article for more on Farrow and his objections, as well as further background), was tepid at best, and even now, they have been reported as saying (see the BBC again), that they don’t cancel deals with authors lightly. Then again, many other publishers rejected Allen’s memoir outright, and Amazon canceled a four movie deal with the infamous director after the reemergence of abuse allegations.

The walk out, combined with apparent meetings with employees, seem to have convinced Hachette to cancel the book this week.

The memoir was set to come out in April, though announcement seems to have been delayed, and Farrow alleges the deal was hidden from him by the publisher, and the delay in announcement certainly pushed off protests, deliberately or not.

 

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Investigative Journalist Calls Out Major Publisher Hachette

Renown Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter and author of Catch and Kill, Ronan Farrow, has cut ties with that book’s publisher, Hachette (publisher behind imprints Grand Central, Little Brown, and many more), after the imprint’s controversial decision to publish a memoir written by his father, Woody Alan, who has many allegations against him for sexual assault of his adoptive daughters, both as adults and children. Read a concise breakdown of those allegations here. Farrow says in his announcement tweet (see below) that he is disappointed, especially in light of the fact that other major publishing houses have rejected the work, citing commercial risks in the age of #metoo.

Image via @RonanFarrow on Twitter

Farrow also states that Hachette has failed to fact check Allen’s book, which is corroborated by original accuser Dylan Farrow, who has also denounced Hachette, and says she has not been contacted about the book’s contents.

Hachette’s chief executive, Michael Pietsch, is quoted as saying “our job as a publisher is to help the author achieve what they have set out to do in the creation of their book,” while apparently failing to comment on the calls from Farrow for the memoir to be heavily fact checked.

It’s not just publishers, either. Many actors have refused to work on Allen’s films, and since allegations resurfaced, some who had worked with him have apologized, several even donating the pay they received to charities combating sexual abuse, including Rebecca Hall and Timothee Chalamet, according to Indie Wire.

Farrow also says that the acquiring and publishing of his adoptive father’s memoir was hidden from him while he was working on the publication of his own book, Catch and Kill, itself an exploration of how allegations of sexual assault and abuse, such as those against his father, are suppressed by the powerful individuals at whom they are leveled.

It’s not yet clear whether this publishing decision, or Farrow’s criticism, will lead to a boycott of Hachette and it’s imprints.

 

See our update on this story here.

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Featured image via the Los Angeles Times