Today’s Banned Books Week focus is on The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon. The award winning novel – published 2003 – is told from the point of view of a 15-year-old, mathmatically-gifted boy with Autism.
The book has been challenged in numerous places and banned in at least two places: Tennessee and Florida.
It was on the summer reading list for high school students in Tallahassee, FL. But a parent complained and it was pulled from the curriculum in 2015. The Tallahassee Democrat reported that the complaints about the book included the content and language. The book features an array of swear words, including the f-word (used 28 times), as well as references to atheism (National Post, Aug. 14, 2015).
Author Mark Haddon said the character is “unaware that swearing is offensive due to his behavioural problems.”
According to a National Post article from Aug. 14, 2015: “The school’s principal Allen Burch said the reason was reached to “give the opportunity for parents to parent.” The controversial decision was made without going through any review process, also violating district bylaws.”
Here’s the full National Post article.
This book was also banned in Tennessee for a ninth-grade Honors reading class. Haddon wrote a blog post about this incident back in 2014.
Florida is one of the top states for banned and challenged books, with many of the complaints stemming for “Christian values.” Between 2007 and 2011, Florida had 16 challenges to books. Over this same time, Georgia had 5, Alabama had 2, and Mississippi and Louisiana both had 1 each. (In comparison, Oregon had 7.)
It’s quite interesting to read the various challenges and see the map.