Harry Potter Series Tops ALA List of the Decade's Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books
April 19, 2010, 05:47 AM
The American Library Association have issued a press release listing the 10 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 2009 and announcing an updated list of the top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade (2000-2009). The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling have come at the top of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade list, followed by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Alice series and Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War. The press release comments that the Harry Potter series is "frequently challenged for various issues including occult/Satanism and anti-family themes." You can find the full list of the Most Frequently Challenged Books of the Decade on the ALA website at this link.
Thanks to MuggleNet for the heads up!
jreineke3, while applauding you for doing such fine work in your English class, just remember the issue isn’t the Catholic Church per se (which actually had a wide range of semi-official responses to HP), but less well defined and informed reactions from those who adhere to what they perceive as true fundamentalist christianities (please note use of plural, I am tired of the argument that there is only one form of Christianity, there never has been. also of small “c” since i sincerely believe there is considerable divine head shaking going on over what is being shouted about and done in the name of religion)
On the other hand, look at what the ALA bases its list on: the number of written complaints received. Last year the number of complaints was just over 400; the year before the number was over 500. The ALA assumes that for every written complaint that reaches their office, another 4 or 5 complaints do not. Therefore, the estimated number of complaints a year is about 2500…and there is not publicly available data to indicate if these complaints came in clusters (ie, from a small suburb outside Atlanta, Georgia where we know a strong opponent of HP resides), or are more distributed.
Even if we assumed that there were 10 complaints for every one received by the ALA, that would give a total of what, 5000 or so? We’re talking an insignificant fringe minority, folks…
Also, remember that literary classics such as Catcher in the Rye and some writings of Mark Twain regularly show up on the list….it’s curious that there has not been a movement to ban the Percy Jackson series (as the characters in those books would say, “thank the gods!”)
Zhiyal and others are right to note that the themes in HP (and most other works of good fiction) necessarily include religious and ethical lessons…all the world’s religions after all do offer similar guidelines for ethical living, and that explains why HP appeals beyond the nominally christian cultures to a more global audience.
so, remember the complaints come from a small fringe minority, who (as two of you noted above) never read the books, AND at the same time the lists are actually used for marketing purposes: making the list of “challenged books” is a badge of honor and good publicity!
These people are so up-tight about these types of things. Get your heads out of your arses. This is a book (but not just any ordinary book, it’s just way too awesome to described). You’re making a big deal out of nothing. IT’S FICTION (I wish it were real though). Get that into your skulls! Besides, the whole point of all of the books is about love and how to accept people for who they are, and about making all the right choices. Bollocks to those who think they’re encouraging satanism and all such rot. You blokes just don’t get it, and are too narrow-minded to really give it a chance. Anti-family? Pfft. Whatever. Stay in your little hole and be a dunderhead, for all I care. It’s not me who’s totally missing out on the greatest thing ever made on Earth.
GO, HARRY POTTER!!!
Well it is true, Harry Potter has always been accused of witchcraft. I think that this is all ridiculious nonsense. I mean come on it’s the 21st century, no one believes in stuff like that anymore.
@ButterflyBoy, I totally agree with you!! I think these books show the true meaning of family and that a “family” is anyone you choose to include in your life and show true love for and care for them no matter who they were born to or what circumstances they have dealt with in life!!
Whether anyone believes in witchcraft or not, HP is all about family values and, the importance of love and friendship. If these people, be they a minority or not, actually read the books rather than just ranting about them, they would see that HP is totally about doing the right thing, choosing the good side and, making the right choices. The importance of love, family and friendship is emphasized thru out the seven books.
Since when does HP have anti-family themes? It is the complete oppositte. And satanism is just harsh, witchcraft maby but worship of the devil? I’ll accuse them of obsessive christianity
Those who try to ban Harry Potter on the account of “Satanism” and “Witchcraft”, I would tell them to remember not any church sermon or quote from Bible or any other holy book but a quote from a great man, Galileo Galilei, who as I know from history, was a devout christian himself (still persucated by the church, forgiven about 400 years later !) :
“I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intented us to forgo their use.”
This shows how dumb the world is.
no no…I know it is not a Catholic issue…I am a Catholic so I wrote it based on some of the things that I have heard within my own church. I only focused on Catholic views because I know what I am talking about whereas with every other religion I do not know as much. There was no blame being placed it just worked best cause I could see both sides!
I am Catholic and a Potter fan…thats all. Oh and a Republican…
I love saying that. I can just see people all over the world cringe!
Also the magic in Harry Potter is treated like Math and science. The don’t worship it, they learn it and apply it in everyday life. Just because it doesn’t apply to our “world”, doesn’t mean it has to be evil. Those people that automatically awesume that Harry Potter is a bad influence are ruining our society. Harry Potter teaches kids many things so well, it shouldn’t even be considered to be on this list. But then again there are people that think any difference is bad.
OMG! Why Harry Potter?! I mean really? If you can’t read challenged books then don’t read it. Common sense… I hate it because at my school they ban reading Harry Potter in reading groups. Why don’t you just ask their parents and then read it? Who cares if it’s magic, people watch magic tricks. In my opinion I think these series show what to do right and be brave for your friends. They are on of the most touching and action- packed books I’ve read in my life. I’m eleven and I don’t think these books are challenged they’re the best! It shows how a wizard who’s brave, funny, and who has great friends throughout his years. Well, I don’t think it should be number one. I think the Twilight series should.
what a load. oh well. another accolade for JK. Steinbeck and Faulkner were challenged to and look where they sit amongst literature now.
Challenged for it’s anti-family themes? well only someone who’d never read the books could come up with that one! I am so glad I live in the UK, we do not have this sort of nonsense over here.
Well, it will only make kids want to read the books… banning it from libraries. Kids can borrow it from friends, or buy it~ anyway, to ban just will make the kids more curious about the books and will make them want to read it.