“Take these off your shelves” is the cry that many libraries in the US are hearing. Once again, the American Library association has released their list of top book complaints for last year and some of the entries might surprise you.
At the top of the list is not E.L. James‘ FIFTY SHADES OF GREY, like you might imagine, but a simple piece of juvenile fiction–Dav Pilkey‘s CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS series. The books are placed on the list when a parent, educator or member of the public makes a complaint about a book and asks to have it removed from the shelves. Typically, offensive language, racial discrimination and sexual themes are the most common reasons for complaints. In the case of the Underpants books, one of the problems (along with offensive language) was that the series often depicts teachers as aggressive or sometimes even bullies. Pilkey says that he hopes it teaches children that adults in authority positions are not always good or right, and that he’s pleased to be in such good company (past authors on the list have included Mark Twain and Harper Lee).
Just because a book lodges complaints does not mean libraries pull them from their shelves. They are simply noted, and it is up to the discretion of each library to keep them or not. What’s interesting is that usually books will stay only a year or so on the list, and then will be replaced with a new “scandalous” book. There is never a shortage of bad books.
You can read more about this year’s list right here. And no, we have no plans to pull any of the books from our shelves…even if you do find a guy in underwear on the cover of a book offensive.