Celebrate Banned Books Week with me! According to the ALA’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, there were 311 challenges to books last year. Check out the infographic below for 2014’s list of top 10 challenged books, plus a bunch of other info.
There are three graphic novels on the list this year: Persepolis, Drama, and the Saga series. (Korean manhwa The Color of Earth has also been on the list previously.) Graphic novels are an interesting case. People who are unfamiliar with them may see “comics” and assume that children are the intended audience when that is not always the case. And the visuality of the medium sometimes makes things that might not be so racy in a written book seem much more…graphic.
I absolutely adore Saga, written by Brian K. Vaughan and illustrated by Fiona Staples. You can read my previous thoughts on it here. To be honest, its content is very adult and I would be hesitant to include it in a high school library collection or assign it for a class unless there were a specific reason a teacher wanted to teach it.
Public libraries are a different story; I first read Saga by checking it out of my local public library—I found it in the section specifically for adult graphic novels, distinct from the comic/manga section in the young adult area. I think that kind of labeling is useful because it helps readers (and parents of readers) make an informed decision about the kind of content they are selecting.
I am tickled by the fact that one of the reasons for challenging Saga is that it is “anti-family.” I think most people who have read it would agree that it is, in fact, very pro-family. The cover of issue 1, shown on the infographic below, depicts the main characters Alana and Marko (a married couple) and their infant daughter Hazel (who narrates the story). Much of the story has to do with them struggling to keep their family together in the face of racism and war. What is more pro-family than that?
I have just picked up Persepolis from the library and will be reading it this week. Are you reading any “banned” books right now, or have you in the past? What is your favorite book on the 2014 challenged list?