It turns out at least one part of publishing has a diverse slate of authors: the books most likely to be pulled from school and library shelves. The American Library Association today released its annual list of the 10 books receiving the most complaints from parents, educators, and other community members. Sherman Alexie's prize-winning, autobiographical novel of high school life, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, ranked No. 1, followed by Marjane Satrapi's graphic novel Persepolis and the picture book about two male penguins raising a baby penguin, Peter Parnell's and Justin Richardson's And Tango Makes Three. Others on the list include Toni Morrison's debut novel, The Bluest Eye; Khaled Hosseini's best-selling novel, The Kite Runner; and Jaycee Dugard's best-selling memoir about her kidnapping, A Stolen Life.
The remaining books were Robie Harris' It's Perfectly Normal; Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples; Stephen Chbosky's The Perks of Being a Wallflower; and Raina Telgemeier's Drama. Several of the authors listed were either non-whites—though just a small percentage of books released each year are by non-whites—or writers of books with gay, lesbian, or transgender themes. A study last fall by Diversity in YA found about 20% of books on the list since 2000 were by non-white authors. Over half of the books included content about non-whites, non-heterosexuals, or disabled people. Reasons for challenges to books on the ALA's list ranged from "cultural insensitivity" in Alexie's novel to "promotes the homosexual agenda" in And Tango Makes Three. Common complaints include explicit sex, violence, references to drugs and alcohol, and offensive language. The ALA counted 311 challenges last year, well below the levels of the 1980s and '90s, when the rise of the Moral Majority led to widespread efforts to have books pulled. (Read more banned books stories.)