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The ALA releases a list each year of the top ten most frequently challenged books as reported to their Office of Intellectual Freedom.

The 2012 most frequently challenged books are...

1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
   Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group

2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group

3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group

4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
   Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
   Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group

6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit

7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for agegroup

8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
   Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence

9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
   Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
   Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence



For more information, visit the

American Library Association:



Banned Books week 2013: September 22nd-28th!

Books on the Chopping Block

Sunday, 9/22 - Glencoe Library, 2:00pm

Monday, 9/23 - Budlong Woods Library Branch, Chicago, 6:30pm

Tuesday off

Wednesday, 9/25 - Harold Washington Library Branch, Chicago, 1:00pm

Thursday, 9/26 - Oak Park Library, 7:00pm

Friday 9/27 - Sorry, this performance is not open to the public.

Saturday, 9/28 - Evanston Public Library, 3:00pm

Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Books on the Chopping Block is our annual 60-minute performance of dramatic readings of short excerpts taken from these books. City Lit has teamed up with the ALA in celebration of Banned Books Week since 2006, performing at special events, libraries and bookstores in and around Chicago.


2010 cast: Gordy Andina, Chiquita Davis, Gyasi Kress & Katy Nielsen (not pictured)

City Lit Artistic Director Terry McCabe believes that concert readings of excerpts from challenged books actively celebrate the books most at risk and call attention to the would be censor's threat to an educated democracy. “Our focus is literate theatre, so we are naturally concerned by attempts to keep books away from people,” McCabe says. “We are privileged to continue our alliance with the ALA in this important work.”


Click here to view images of Books on the Chopping Block 2011 from TribLocal Oak Park/River Forest

2011 cast: Jim Morley, Katy Nielsen, Lindsay Madison & Gordy Andina

"The programs have been top notch and adiences have appreciated both the dramatic interpretations adn the spotlight on what type of material gets challenged in the United States. Our patrons enjoy this thoughtful, thought provoking program."

- Mark Kaplan, Branch Manager, Bezazian Library Branch


Glencoe Public Library, 2011




City Lit Theater 1020 W. Bryn Mawr Chicago, IL 60657

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