Friday, September 26, 2014

Jeff Bridges reads "The Giver", a highly challenged book

Jeff Bridges participates in Banned Books Week Virtual ReadOut!

Since its release in 1993, The Giver has been one of the most controversial books in American schools. Between 1990 and 1999, The Giver ranked 11th on the list of the books most frequently requested for removal. In the 2000s it was 23rd, just two spots below To Kill a Mockingbird.

Barbara Jones is the director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), which maintains a database of attempts to remove books from schools. There is no way of knowing the exact number of actual attempts, as the OIF can only track those reported in the media or submitted to them by individuals, but since 1990 they have recorded over 11,000 separate instances of what they call “challenges,” “attempt[s] to remove or restrict materials.”

For The Giver just under one-third of all challenges (for which the outcome was reported) resulted in a removal. The state that has seen the most attempts to remove The Giver is Texas, but the book has also been challenged in Massachusetts, Washington, and many other states all over the country.

In the last two decades, the most frequent reasons for a book being challenged in the United States have been categorized by the OIF as complaints that the book contains “Offensive Language” or is “Sexually Explicit.” But The Giver is not usually objected to for either of these reasons. The most frequently cited reasons to challenge The Giver have been “Violence” and claims that the book is “Unsuited to [the] Age Group”—or in other words that it’s too dark for children.
The chart below plots the top five most common reasons The Giver was challenged in red. The bars in blue represent how often that excuse was given for all book challenges the OIF has recorded.
But even if a few protective parents get their way in some districts, and the book is removed from a handful of libraries, it’s unlikely to stop the vast majority of young readers from finding it. The Giver has seen a surge in book sales ahead of the movie’s release, and on Amazon’s list of best-selling Teen & Young Adult Books, it currently ranks No. 2.

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