Late Night: “Captain Underpants” Most Challenged Book of the Year


The American Library Association has released its list of the most challenged books of the past year, and Fifty Shades of Grey was only number four on the list, beaten out by the charming and funny kid’s book series,  Captain Underpants, Sherman Alexie’s prize-winning “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” and Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why.

The ALA’s  Office for Intellectual Freedom defines a challenge as a

formal, written complaint filed with a library or school requesting that a book or other material be restricted or removed because of its content or appropriateness.

The first three books on the list were considered unsuitable for any age. Fifty Shades of Grey was challenged for its sexytime situations, and some libraries claimed the smutty trilogy was too poorly written to be stocked, according the Guardian. (And yet, Jackie Collins can be found on shelves…)

In the past decade the  top ten list list included works by Mark Twain, Maya Angelou, Alice Walker, Toni Morrison, Maurice Sendak, Judy Blume, J.D. Salinger, John Steinbeck, Harper Lee, and J.K. Rowlings. Nobel Laureate Morrison’s Beloved made the top ten list this year.

The 2012 list of most challenged books is 25% longer than 2011′s but not as extensive as during the last two decades of the 20th century.

Captain Underpants, challenged for

offensive language, unsuited for age group

is so much fun. The book follows the adventures of schoolkids as

they duel Dr. Diaper, tackle the talking toilets, clash with the crazy cafeteria ladies, plot against Professor Poopypants, and wrestle the wicked Wedgie Woman. Overflowing with humor, action, and that world-famous cheesy animation technique, Flip-O-Rama, this boxed collection will make kids laugh until soda comes out their noses.

No doubt the anti-authoritarian tone is what got folks all sandy-pants over Captain Underpants!

Author Dav Pilkey who based the books on his own elementary school experiences, issued this statement:

It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou. But I worry that some parents might see this list and discourage their kids from reading Captain Underpants, even though they have not had a chance to read the books themselves.

Obama Gives Bob Dylan Presidential Medal of Honor


On May 29, President Obama presented Bob Dylan with Presidential Medal of Honor, our country’s greatest civilian honor. Obama had to coax Dylan–who wore sunglasses indoors–up to the podium, where POTUS praised him, saying:

This is the highest civilian honor this country can bestow, which is ironic, because nobody sets out to win it. No one ever picks up a guitar, or fights a disease, or starts a movement, thinking, “You know what, if I keep this up, in 2012, I could get a medal in the White House from a guy named Barack Obama”…Today, everybody from Bruce Springsteen to U2 owes Bob a debt of gratitude.  There is not a bigger giant in the history of American music.  All these years later, he’s still chasing that sound, still searching for a little bit of truth.  And I have to say that I am a really big fan.

Also honored: Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former Justice Department official John Doar, a pivotal civil rights movement figure; William Foege, a doctor and epidemiologist who helped eradicate smallpox in the 1970s; astronaut John Glenn; the late Gordon Hirabayashi, who openly denounced the World War II-era internment of Japanese-Americans; farm worker union pioneer Dolores Huerta; the late Jan Karski, who fought the Nazis as a member of the Polish Underground and warned the world about the Holocaust; Girl Scouts founder Juliette Gordon Low, who died in 1927; author Toni Morrison; Israeli President Shimon Peres, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, and Pat Summitt, college basketball’s winningest coach and a crusader against Alzheimer’s.

(photos: screenshots)