Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

April 18, 2014

CBLDF: Bone Hits ALA Top Ten Most Challenged List For 2013

imageThe Comics Book Legal Defense Fund has a nice piece up here on an announcement earlier this week that Jeff Smith's all-ages fantasy Bone was through some bizarre set of cultural circumstances that demand our attention on the top 10 list of 2013's most challenged books. The aspects on which it was challenges are said to be, "political viewpoint, racism and violence." I think most comics fans familiar with the book -- most readers of all kinds familiar with the book -- would have a hard time pulling a racism thread from its pages. And if Smith has a political viewpoint except in the broadest sense, I've never been exposed to it through the works or outside of it. I guess there is some violence in there, but nothing that isn't routinely seen in other similarly-targeted works in a lot of media. The primary mode of confrontation in Bone is running away.

As that CBLDF piece notes, the trend seems to be towards works read by young people that might not fit squarely within the absolutely most rigid definition of what a very sensitive child might have been expected to read in 1923. This suggests a cultural argument is being made against some of these books rather than our seeing the accrual of independent challenges that just happen to settle on a specific kind of work. I asked Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein how many challenges this might represented, and he came back with a number over 300, which is astonishing to me. It should be alarming for all of us.
posted 2:15 am PST | Permalink

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