Cover image for Books under fire : a hit list of banned and challenged children's books
Books under fire : a hit list of banned and challenged children's books
Scales, Pat, author.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Chicago : ALA Editions, an imprint of the American Library Association, 2015.
Physical Description:
xvi, 208 pages ; 23 cm
Challenges or questions regarding the content in children's books are very common, but rarely do they result in book banning. No public or school library is immune to those who want to deny children's access to certain books and materials. Scales has compiled a tool to help librarians, teachers, and young readers become aware of the social issues that are most often at the center of the majority of book challenges for children.
The absolutely true diary of a part time Indian by Sherman Alexie -- The fighting ground by Avi -- Uncle Bobby's wedding by Sarah S. Brannen -- Blubber by Judy Blume -- My mom's having a baby by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Carol Thompson -- Mommy laid an egg! or, Where do babies come from by Babette Cole -- My brother Sam is dead by James Lincoln and Christopher Collier -- The hunger games by Suzanne Collins -- The Watsons go to Birmingham 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis -- Julie of the wolves by Jean Craighead George -- Summer of my German soldier by Bette Greene -- Dead man in Indian Creek by Mary Downing Hahn -- It's perfectly normal : a book about changing bodies, growing up, sex, and sexual health by Robie H. Harris and illustrated by Michael Emberley -- Diary of a wimpy kid series by Jeff Kinney -- Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry -- The giver by Lois Lowry -- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor -- The Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor -- Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park -- The family book by Todd Parr -- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson -- The higher power of lucky by Susan Patron -- Harris and me : a summer remembered by Gary Paulsen -- Mexican white boy by Matt de la Peña -- Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey -- In our mother's house by Patricia Polacco -- And Tango makes three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell and illustrated by Henry Cole -- Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling -- Scary stories series by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Brett Helquist -- How to get suspended and influence people by Adam Selzer -- Bone series by Jeff Smith -- Roll of thunder, hear my cry by Mildred D. Taylor -- The dirty cowboy by Amy Timberlake and illustrated by Adam Rex -- Stuck in neutral by Terry Trueman -- Appendix 1. Resources for teaching young readers about the First Amendment -- Appendix 2. Bibliography professional resources -- Appendix 3. Ranking of children's books in top 100 most challenged books list -- Appendix 4. Children's classics and why they have been challenged -- Appendix 5. Caldecott Medal books and honor books : why they have been challenged -- Appendix 6. John Newbery Medal and honor books : why they have been challenged.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
Z1019 .S325 2015 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Many things have changed since ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) was founded in 1967, but not everything: the most beloved and popular children's books are still among the most frequent targets of censorship and outright bans. Limiting access to controversial titles such as Captain Underpants, The Dirty Cowboy, Blubber, or Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark or leaving them out of a library's collection altogether is not the answer to challenges. In this important book, Scales gives librarians the information and guidance they need to defend challenged books with an informed response while ensuring access to young book lovers.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

*Starred Review* Like death and taxes, book challenges are always with us, as noted intellectual-freedom advocate Scales implies in her splendid new book about censorship. But knowledge is power, and Books under Fire contains a veritable arsenal of information to employ when the book challenger comes knocking at the library's door. The heart of the book is a copiously annotated list of 34 often challenged children's books or series. Some of these are familiar (e.g., The Giver and the Captain Underpants series), and some may be surprising (e.g., the Wimpy Kid and Junie B. Jones series). Each featured title contains a gracefully written book summary, quotes from professional review sources, details of recorded challenges, lists of awards and accolades, official websites for the author and/or illustrator, suggestions for further reading, and references for listening and viewing. An ample sufficiency, in short. There are also lists of thoughtful questions for discussion and citations for other books that have been challenged for similar reasons. Six appendixes contain further useful information, including one on Resources for Teaching Young Readers about the First Amendment and a bibliography of professional resources. And speaking, in summary, of resources, this one is clearly indispensable and belongs in every library collection.--Cart, Michael Copyright 2015 Booklist

School Library Journal Review

A resource for librarians looking to connect kids with challenged books and discuss the issues behind challenges. Thirty-four challenged titles are presented with clear and concise summaries which include several quotes from reviewers; straightforward, factual, and fascinating challenge details; awards and accolades; connections to a wealth of further reading, listening or viewing; well-constructed discussion questions to use with students; and a few related books. Titles include classics such as Judy Blume's Blubber (Bradbury, 1974), Avi's The Fighting Ground (HarperCollins, 1984), and Betty Greene's Summer of My German Solider (Dial, 1973) as well as newer titles such as Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games (Scholastic, 2008), Dav Pilkey's "Captain Underpants" series (Scholastic), and Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Little, Brown, 2007). Appendices include resources for teaching kids about the first amendment, a bibliography of professional titles about censorship, the rankings of children's and young adult books in the top 100 most challenged books from 2000 to 2009, lists of children's classics, and a list of Caldecott and Newbery books and why they have been challenged. VERDICT Any youth librarian that has this title within easy reach will be ready to program with challenged materials, discuss intellectual freedom issues with kids and grown ups, and respond intelligently to book challenges.-Heather Acerro, Rochester Public Library, MN (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

A trove of valuable reference information is packed into this compact, paperbound resource by retired librarian Scales. It covers both children's and young adult books. The main section profiles 34 books (and series such as "Harry Potter" and "Captain Underpants") that have recently been challenged for library or curriculum suitability in the US. Some, such as Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, were recently published; others, such as Judy Blume's Blubber, have been challenged repeatedly over several decades. Each entry includes a meaty synopsis, quotations from some reviews, details of known challenges, awards/accolades, and a "Further Reading" section with citations to articles about the author, the book(s), and censorship thereof. Especially valuable for adults working with youth are two sections new to this volume, "Talking with Readers about the Issues" and "Related Books Challenged for Similar Reasons." Most of the challenged books are fiction, but some nonfiction and picture books are included. Six valuable appendixes feature resources on intellectual freedom, lists of classic and award-winning titles that have been challenged, and brief notes on each of the 39 children's and young adult titles that appear among the "Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books, 2000-2009" ( For readers looking for additional material on this subject, the most direct predecessors are Beverley Becker and Susan Stan's Hit List for Children 2: Frequently Challenged Books (2002) and Teri Lesesne and Rosemary Chance's Hit List for Young Adults 2: Frequently Challenged Books (2002). Books under Fire is an outstanding resource for librarians, teachers, parents, and students seeking factual information and a broader understanding of the social issues that motivate book challenges. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers. --Walter P. Hogan, Eastern Michigan University