(Warning: Explicit Content)

For years, parents expressed concerns about the content of the “Captain Underpants” book series, resulting in the series ranking second in the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom’s Top 100 Most Banned and Challenged Books: 2010-2019. In 2014, the ACLU reported that the books were “most frequently sought to be censored or banned, according to the American Library Association (ALA).” 

Problematic to parents were passages like this one with crude humor and potty language and images.

Now, years later, those concerned parents would be astounded to see the sexually explicit material—even pornographic material—being pushed on school children today. 

Let’s take a look at some of the top 13 most challenged books of 2022, according to the ALA.   

(Warning: Explicit Content)

Found in a California public school, “Gender Queer” contains graphic images of masturbation, sexting, and blow jobs. 

All Boys Aren’t Blue” describes the details of oral sex between cousins:   

You told me to take off my pajama pants, which I did. You then took off your shorts, followed by your boxers. There you stood in front of me fully erect, and said, ‘Taste it.’ At first, I laughed and refused. But then you said, ‘Come on, Matt, taste it. This is what boys like us do when we like each other.’ I finally listened to you.’

The Perks of Being a Wallflower” details multiple sex scenes, a rape scene, and drunkenness. 

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” presents viewing of pornography and masturbation as normal and praiseworthy through the words of the narrator. Here are two examples:

I spend hours in the bathroom with a magazine that has one thousand pictures of naked movie stars: Naked woman + right hand = happy happy joy joy.

And if God hadn’t wanted us to masturbate, then God wouldn’t have given us thumbs.

Parents have voiced concerns about this book’s profanity, violence, and references to sexual acts for years.  

Found in multiple school districts, “A Court of Mist and Fury” featured “several vivid, prolonged, explicit sex scenes” and crudely presents oral sex: “‘And when I lick you,’ he said, sliding his arms around me and tucking me in tight to him, ‘I want you splayed out on a table like my own personal feast.’     

These books can only be described as pornographic and completely inappropriate for school libraries. A big leap from “Captain Underpants’” references to poop and pee.

The ALA claimed these challenged books were censored and banned. In reality, the Captain Underpants series and the other so-called “banned” books are all still available at bookstores, online, and public libraries. The ALA and PEN America’s overly broad definition of banned equates being questioned, unavailable or restricted at a school library with being banned. If a school adds a parental permission requirement to a book or moves a book from an elementary to middle school library, PEN America considers that a book ban. Many books and materials are restricted from school libraries, simply because they are inappropriate for young children. This does not mean they are banned. 

Furthermore, “The Book Ban Mirage” report by the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute found that three-quarters of the books PEN America labeled as “banned” are actually still in school libraries.

Labeling these books as banned discredits legitimate examples of censorship and book banning throughout history, such as the United States postmaster general refusing to carry abolitionist pamphlets to the South in the nineteenth century and the literal ban of “1984” in the Soviet Union.    

A lot has changed since 2014, as challenged books have gone from potty language to pornographic material. ALA’s most challenged books are not banned, but their sexually explicit material must be kept out of school libraries and classrooms. And parents are rightly justified in expressing their concerns.  

Independent Women’s Forum will be exposing inappropriate and ideologically indoctrinating books found in K-12 schools through the “Book Bans” Debunked blog series. If you want to see the books in your children’s school library, search here. This is the second piece in the series.