On April 15th the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association (ALA), unveiled the top ten most frequently challenged books list of 2012.
The list is headed by Captain Underpants Series by author Dav Pilkey. “The series revolves around two fourth graders, George Beard and Harold Hutchins, and Captain Underpants; an aptly named superhero from one of George & Harold's comic books, that accidentally becomes real when George and Harold hypnotizes their grouchy mean principal, Mr. Krupp” (wikipedia).
The reason given for the censorship is “Offensive language, unsuited for age group.” These works are subject to complaints from parents, educators and other members of the public
In my view, the book does not deserve to be banned. It is a book that entertains children of that age group with humor and to whom they can identify and relate.
Nor do I consider Its language offensive in any particular way. My 11 year old enjoyed them when he was younger, and encouraged him to read.
The author told Huffington Post: “I don't see these books as encouraging disrespect for authority. Perhaps they demonstrate the value of questioning authority," Pilkey said. "Some of the authority figures in the Captain Underpants books are villains. They are bullies and they do vicious things."
"It's pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou." Pilkey said in a statement.
And rightly so, the works of Mark Twain The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer have been repeatedly banned.
Mark Twain said to his editor on the Concord Public Library banning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn in 1885: “Apparently, the Concord library has condemned Huck as ‘trash and only suitable for the slums.’ This will sell us another twenty-five thousand copies for sure!”
You may wonder Why consider this censorship as a double standard and hypocrisy?
Number One: The list of censored books, as I indicated is headed by Captain Underpants Series by Dav Pilkey.
But on number four is the book Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E.L. James. The given reasons for this censorship were: “Offensive language, sexually explicit”.
I think this was to be expected and seems reasonable that they decided to remove this title from the Public Libraries and Schools.
I do not believe in any kind censorship, but everyone has different standards, values and principles. For me, a discussion on the topic with logical argumentation will be more positive than a ban. The parents are the ones that should make that decision concerning their own children.
Another different thing is to have Captain Underpants Series and Fifty Shades of Grey in the same list, specially when Captain Underpants is the number one of the list; is ridiculous!
Number Two: In February of this year the City of Chicago passed a legislation endorsing sex education for kindergarten. Chicago has the third-largest public school system in the country, with 431,000 students.
The reasons given by advocates and supporters is that it will help lower child abuse rates if children are educated about sexuality, another, is that “by implementing a new sexual health education policy, we will be helping them to build a foundation of knowledge that can guide them not just in the preadolescent and adolescent years, but throughout their lives.” Said Barbara Byrd-Bennett, the CEO of the Chicago Public School System in a statement.
Those educators who censor the “offensive language” of Captain Underpants are supporting sexual education for Kindergarten students! Absurd and ridiculous!
Here is a clear example of today’s society double standards and lack of consistency. How they will not expect to lose credibility in the Institutions and decision makers if in one hand they censor the language of a children's book recommended for children aged 7-10 years, but in the other they are urging sexual education for children 5 and 6 years old?