Which Books Did Texas Schools Try to Ban Last Year?

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15 books were challenged or banned in Texas during the 2014-2015 school year. - ANIRVAN (FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS)
  • Anirvan (Flickr Creative Commons)
  • 15 books were challenged or banned in Texas during the 2014-2015 school year.

Banned Books Week, the annual celebration of books that have been deemed unfit for rational, free-thinking humans to read, is here once again.

To mark the occasion, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas creates an annual report of all the books banned or challenged, meaning a parent or concerned citizen complained about a book and sought to ban it from a school. These books join the ranks of other censored classics, including Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies, to name just a few. 

Many of the books garnered complaints for violence or sexual content. But some are head-scratchers, including a book about a dog's displeasure with a bright orange bow and a comparison of different countries' version of Santa Claus.

Here are a dozen of the challenged and banned books from the 2014-2015 school year:

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Book: Red Azalea by Anchee Min
Plot: A memoir of Min's experiences growing up in Maoist China. Min recounts this coming of age story in which she struggles with autocratic state policies, earns a role in a propaganda film and has an affair with a woman.
School: Calhoun High School
Reason Cited: Sexual content, politically, racially, or socially offensive 
Action Taken:
Use Restricted

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Book: The Book of Bunny Suicides by Andy Riley
Plot: Cartoon bunnies kill themselves.
School: Chapel Hill Junior High
Reason Cited: Violence/Horror
Action Taken: Banned (removed from library)


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Book: Drive-By by Lynn Ewing
Plot: Tito's brother Jimmy is killed by a gang. Will Tito join the gang too?
School: McClendon Elementary
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content, drugs or alcohol
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed



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Book: Thirteen by Lauren Myracle
Plot: Winnie is 13 years old, and is conflicted about teenager stuff.
School: Wilson Intermediate
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content, drugs or alcohol
Action Taken: Use restricted



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Book: Santa Claus Around the World by Lisl Weil
Plot: Christmas!
School: Powell Elementary
Reason Cited: Violence or horror: "There was a description of a horned figure taking children."
Action Taken: Retained


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Book: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
Plot: It's from a dog's perspective. The dog loves a family. Possible reincarnation.
School: Highland Park High School
Reason Cited: Profanity, sexual content
Action Taken: Retained

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Book: Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin
Plot: Pretty much lays it all out in the title.
School: MacArthur High School
Reason Cited: "Subject matter not appropriately presented"
Action Taken: Retained



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Book: The Natural by Bernard Malamud
Plot: Roy Hobbs, a naturally great baseball player, wants to be the best to ever play the game.
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Alternate book allowed


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Book: Drama by Raina Telgemeier
Plot: Callie likes theater. She meets some boys. Teenage antics ensue.
School: Seele Elementary
Reason Cited: Parent felt subject matter too advanced for elementary
Action Taken: Use Restricted  



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Book: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Plot: Invasion of the Body Snatchers as written by the author of Twilight.
School: Red Lick Middle School
Reason Cited: Offensive to religious sensibilities
Action Taken: Use restricted

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Book: I Hate My Bow by Han Wilhelm
Plot: A dog doesn't like the bow on his head.
School: Red Lick Elementary
Reason Cited: Parent didn't like the word "hate"
Action Taken: Banned (removed from library)


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Book: The Berlin Boxing Club by Robert Sharenow
Plot: In Nazi Germany, a secular Jewish boy named Karl Stern takes boxing lessons from Max Schmeling, a champion boxer who's forcibly associated with the Nazis.
School: Deerpark Middle School
Reason Cited: Sexual content
Action Taken: Retained




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