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This week is the 30th annual Banned Books Week.

Few public libraries ever actually ban books. And the American Library Association, when it releases its list of most frequently challenged books, notes that there is a difference between a parent or patron's formal complaint to a library and an actual banned book. It has no count of "banned books." It really counts "challenges." The ALA's Office for Intellectual Freedom counted 326 challenges in 2011. This is how it describes a challenge:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.

In 2011, the most challenged book was "ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r" by Lauren Myracle. The reasons given: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group.

Here's the complete list:

1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle

2. The Color of Earth (series) by Kim Dong Hwa

3. The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (series)

4. My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler

5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

6. Alice (series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

8. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

9. Gossip Girl (series) by Cecily Von Ziegesar

10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

For more on Banned Books Week, click here.



Jane Henderson is the book editor for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.