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Might give teens violent ideas: the TPL’s 2010 list of challenged books

Freedom to Read Week is a month away, but Toronto Public Library trustee Adam Chaleff-Freudenthaler got a jump on the festivities today by releasing, on his Twitter feed, the 2010 report from the TPL’s Materials Review Committee, which summarizes how the committee dealt with library-user complaints about books, DVDs, etc., over the past year. The nine-item list includes some not-so-surprising targets for complaints, including Tintin in the Congo, which is noted for depicting “Africans in [a] stereotypical fashion that is no longer acceptable,” and the movie Bruno, which one or more patrons found to contain “sexual content and visually explicit pictures not suitable for children or youth.”

There are some odd inclusions, though: The Waiting Dog, a 2003 picture book by Carolyn and Andrea Beck published by Kids Can Press, is said to contain “obscene content, language, and pictures.” (For the record, Q&Q’s review of The Waiting Dog says that “this book is inappropriate for squeamish kids and those afraid of dogs. On the other hand, if you’re on for some exuberant grotesquerie, it’s a very fine specimen of its kind.”)

The best complaint is the one directed at D.E. Athkins’ 2006 YA novel Swans in the Mist: not only does it contain “sadistic scenes,” it “might give teens violent ideas.” (Really, what doesn’t give teens violent ideas?)

While some of the materials were re-categorized (that volume of Tintin was moved to the adult graphic novel section), Chaleff-Freudenthaler notes in his tweet that only one of the nine books was actually removed: an error-ridden volume purporting to help would-be bean counters prepare for their Chartered Financial Analyst exams.