7 of the Most Facepalm-Worthy Book Censorship Battles of the Last Decade

Curse parents! As the Fresh Prince proclaimed, they truly "just don't understand." This is especially true regarding literary rebellion. On June 10, parents in Glen Ellyn, Ill. voted on whether or not to reinstate Stephen Chbosky's Perks of Being a Wallflower in middle school libraries—fortunately they did. It's one of many contemporary young adult texts that's been scrutinized for its content. Here are the stories of book censorship from recent years that will make you roll your eyes and feel like raising some hell...or just reading. [Image: Pexels]

'Captain Underpants' by Dav Pilkey

Pilkey’s incredibly popular series about two fourth grade boys and their imagined unmentionables-wearing superhero has been lauded for its humorous content and exciting plots. However, boring school boards nationwide have deemed the books “unsuited to age group” (which begs the question: If not fourth grade boys, who?) and, in 2003, it was banned because its content encourages children “to disobey authority.” Ugh. Let’s moon ‘em. [Image: Scholastic]

'And Tango Makes Three' by Justin Richardson

Justin Richardson’s 2005 children’s book tells a fictionalized story based on real-life male penguin couple Roy and Silo of the Central Park Zoo. In Tango, the loving and committed penguins build a nest together and raise a baby penguin hatched from an egg that zookeepers give them. It’s a beautifully written and illustrated story about love and compassion. In 2006, parents in Shiloh, Ill. took serious issues with the 36-page book, and requested it be moved to a section for more mature kids. A certain parent claimed its plot was “misleading” and not consistent with the real story of Roy and Silo (in which the penguins were together for six years, at which point Silo moved on to a female penguin—an even more button-pushing story! Let’s publish that one, too). [Image: Simon and Schuster]

'The Handmaid's Tale' by Margaret Atwood

Atwood’s dystopian novel set in a future anti-feminist fascist America was removed from the Advanced Placement English curriculum in a Texas high school in 2006 after a parent complained the novel was “sexually explicit and offensive to Christians.” Thank Jesus: a committee of parents and teachers then voted to reinstate the novel later that year. [Image: Penguin Random House]

'The Hunger Games' by Suzanne Collins

In her youth, my sister was obsessed with a book series about warrior cats who killed other cats. Sub the cats with children, and you have the basic plot of the much more popular Hunger Games series, Collins’s bestseller book about kids’ post-apocalyptic competitions for survival. In 2011, parents objected that the book instills “anti-family,” “occult,” and “anti-ethnic” values in readers. Perhaps the characters should eat the parents? [Image: Scholastic]

'Neonomicon' by Alan Moore

This 2010 graphic novel about two FBI agents’ search to discover the truth of a former agent’s murderous past was removed from a Greenville, S.C. library earlier this year because a parent of a 14-year-old girl protested its content. The executive director of the library stated, “…[H]ad we known in advance about the disturbing material contained in the book, it is unlikely we would have added Neonomicon to our collection. For that reason, we have withdrawn it from the library’s collection.” Disturbing, indeed. [Image: Avatar Press]

'Persepolis' by Marjane Sarpati

In her 2000 graphic novel, Marjane Sarpati depicts her childhood in Iran after the 1980 Islamic Revolution. Marji observes and records the oppression, violence and hardship her family endured during the Iraq-Iran War and the rule of Ayatollah Khomeini. In 2013 the novel was not entirely banned from Chicago Public Schools, but instead ”temporarily recalled” because of its violent and “graphic language and images” and deemed inappropriate for the seventh grade curriculum. Chicago, what gives? [Image: Penguin Random House]

'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky

Chbosky’s beloved coming-of-(teen)age story has recently received a great deal of flack from Glen Ellyn, Ill. District 41 (what is up, Illinois?), where parents contested its “mature content” and requested its removal from library shelves. The board voted in April to ban the novel, and just recently saw the light and voted to reinstate the book. Perhaps because Dame Judy Blume expressed her high regard for Chbosky’s book. [Image: Simon and Schuster]