Since September 26-Oct 2 2021 is Banned Books Week, I decided to see if any mystery, thriller, or suspense books have been banned.
Shocking as it may sound, even in the 21st century there are still banned books in America!
While the number of thriller, suspense, and mystery books banned in America is small, Felony Fiction has found ten books which have been challenged and/or banned in the United States within the past ten years.
This suspenseful American classic about a schoolgirl whose lawyer father defends a Black man in the Jim Crow South and the personal danger she faces because of it has been banned numerous times over the decades.
Most recently, the book has been challenged and banned because of violence, racial slurs, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
This New York Times best-selling crime novel, recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature, tells the story of a teenage victim of police brutality and his classmate - the adopted son of the officer - who witnesses it.
It's been banned for profanity, drug use, alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
Nominated as one of America’s best-loved novels by PBS’s The Great American Read, this story of an autistic fifteen-year-old boy who investigates the suspicious death of the neighbor's dog was removed from one Florida high school reading list and moved to optional reading on another in 2015 due to parent complaints about "atheism and profanity."
It was banned from the ninth-grade honors English classes in a Tennessee school system due to "offensive language", removed from the libraries and taken out of the classrooms, yet later reinstated due to legal concerns.
With over 2200 five-star reviews on Amazon, the book doesn't seem to have suffered for its removal.
I Hunt Killers is the story of the teenaged son of a jailed serial killer - a man who brought his son along to see him work - who tries to help police solve a murder.
Although this story was written by a NY Times best selling author and listed on the Kentucky Bluegrass Awards for ninth through twelfth grades, parents lobbied to remove it from a Lexington, KY reading list in 2013, saying the story is "too violent for teens."
This tale of Lovecraftian mystery and horror involving two young FBI agents was banned from the Greenville County, S.C. Public Library in 2012 (yes, the entire library) after a teenage girl's parents complained.
The head of the library system overturned an internal review committee’s decision to retain the graphic novel because "the pictures gave her pause".
This story about the disappearance of the "the bullies’ punching bag" and a fellow student's attempt to find him was challenged in the Appleton, WI Area School District ninth-grade curriculum (2010) over concerns about its "age-appropriateness."
The book was challenged again by the same school district in 2012 because of its "references to suicide and sex."
This story of a fifteen-year-old who finds a decapitated body in the South Carolina Lowcountry was challenged at a high school in Mount Pleasant, S.C. in 2011 due to concerns that the book “uses foul language, and degrades women and people of color.”
In 2016, the story of a teenage girl's suicide and the efforts of her boyfriend to unravel the mystery of why it happened was challenged for the sophomore-level Academic English II classes at Lemont, Ill., High School District 210 because a parent considered it “pornographic.”
The novel was placed on the 2008 YALSA Best Books for Young Adults and 2009 International Reading Association Young Adults’ Choice lists.
Netflix adapted Thirteen Reasons Why into a 13-episode series in 2017, directed by Oscar winner Tom McCarthy.
This book was challenged by the Salem-Keizer School District, OR elementary schools in 2010 because of "drugs and drug smuggling activities" in the book.
The book was previously challenged in 1994 in the same school district because of "graphic violence, examples of inappropriate parenting," and because it was "too frightening for elementary students."
The book has won awards from the International Reading Association, the Children’s Book Council, and the American Library Association.
This book about the kidnapping of a thirteen-year-old babysitter and her three-year-old charge was challenged by a parent at the Central York, Pa. School District in 2011) over concerns that the book “was too violent.”
Babysitter Amy uses the kidnappers' ransom videos to send clues to the police in hopes of rescue (which I think is a cool plot idea).
Want to read more about challenged and banned books in America? Read all about it at http://www.ala.org
From the ALA.org website:
Book challenges and attempts to censor are not mere expressions of a point of view; rather, they represent requests to remove materials from schools or libraries, thus restricting access to them by others. Even when challenges are overturned and the book is allowed to remain on library shelves, the censorship attempt is real and has an impact. Teachers may be reluctant to place the book on future reading lists, and librarians may be hesitant to purchase “controversial” books.
Sound off! Let us know your thoughts on challenged and banned books.
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