‘The Hunger Games’ makes the Banned Books list
Ever hear how back in the ’50s school libraries used to ban books like “Catcher in the Rye” because they thought it would corrupt kids’ minds? Apparently this stuff still happens, both in school libraries and in local public libraries, and every year the American Library Association keeps a list of the most bans or attempted bans nationwide.
“The Hunger Games” came in third on the list in 2011, just beating out “My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy,” by Dori Hillestad Butler. Honors for the first and second spots went to the “ttyl” series by Lauren Myracle and “The Color of Earth” series by Kim Dong Hwa.
The ALA doesn’t track reasons for the bans, but it doesn’t take a huge leap to imagine that puritanical uprightness played a role in banning “The Color of Earth,” about a single mom and her young daughter discovering her own sexuality. “Ttyl,” a novel written entirely in the parlance of IM conversations, is probably incomprehensible to most parents, and you always fear what you don’t understand. As for “The Hunger Games,” the idea of a story about teenagers killing each other sitting in school libraries probably didn’t sit well with some parents in a post-Columbine world where school shootings nag the back of parents’ minds.
Of course, “Hunger Games” the movie is rated PG-13, meaning that any 13 year-old can roll up and see it.
Incredibly, also on the list were Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World” (published 80 years ago and still getting banned) and “To Kill a Mockingbird.”
The ALA wil hold its “Banned Books Week” this fall to celebrate all the books on the list. The full top 10 list is below, in order of bans: