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Late Night: “Captain Underpants” Most Challenged Book of the Year

The American Library Association has released its list of the most challenged books of the past year, and Fifty Shades of Grey was only number four on the list, beaten out by the charming and funny kid’s book series,  Captain Underpants, Sherman Alexie’s prize-winning “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

The ALA’s  Office for Intellectual Freedom defines a challenge as a

formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

The first three books on the list were considered unsuitable for any age. Fifty Shades of Grey was challenged for its sexytime situations, and some libraries claimed the smutty trilogy was too poorly written to be stocked, according the Guardian. (And yet, Jackie Collins can be found on shelves…)

In the past decade the  top ten list list included works by Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Maurice Sendak, Judy Blume, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, and J.K. Rowlings. Nobel Laureate Morrison’s Beloved made the top ten list this year.

The 2012 list of most challenged books is 25% longer than 2011’s but not as extensive as during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Captain Underpants, challenged for

offensive language, unsuited for age group

is so much fun. The book follows the adventures of schoolkids as

they duel Dr. Diaper, tackle the talking toilets, clash with the crazy cafeteria ladies, plot against Professor Poopypants, and wrestle the wicked Wedgie Woman. Overflowing with humor, action, and that world-famous cheesy animation technique, Flip-O-Rama, this boxed collection will make kids laugh until soda comes out their noses.

No doubt the anti-authoritarian tone is what got folks all sandy-pants over Captain Underpants!

Author Dav Pilkey who based the books on his own elementary school experiences, issued this statement:

It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou. But I worry that some parents might see this list and discourage their kids from reading Captain Underpants, even though they have not had a chance to read the books themselves.

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Lisa Derrick

Lisa Derrick

Los Angeles native, attended UC Berkeley and Loyola Marymount University before punk rock and logophilia overtook her life. Worked as nightclub columnist, pop culture journalist and was a Hollywood housewife before writing for and editing Sacred History Magazine. Then she discovered the thrill of politics. She also appears frequently on the Dave Fanning Show, one of Ireland's most popular radio broadcasts.