The Hunger Games One of 2011’s Top Ten Challenged Books

Author Suzanne Collins’ “The Hunger Games” trilogy has landed a spot on the American Library Association’s Office’s list of 2011’s top ten challenged books. The dystopian saga placed third on the list for a large number of complaints about offensive language, violence, insensitivity, and anti-ethnic reasons, among others.

The books are much higher on the list this year, probably due to all of the buzz surrounding Gary Ross’ film adapation, which has dominated the box office since its March 23 release. In 2010, only the first novel made the list at number five. Lauren Myracle’s Internet Girl book series is number one on the list this year, followed by Kim Dong Hwa’s  “The Color of Earth.” The ALA keeps track of the complaints each year that are reported by libraries and schools trying to keep certain books of the shelves. Director of the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom Barbara Jones told the Associated Press that many of the complaints surrounded casting choices in Gary Ross’s film. “There was complaining about the choice of actors for the film,” she said. “You had people saying someone was dark-skinned in the book, but not in the film, or dark-skinned in the film and not in the book. In general, a lot more people were aware of the books and that led to more kinds of complaints.” Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist of “The Hunger Games,” is described as having darker, olive colored skin in the novels but is played by the fair-skinned, blonde actress Jennifer Lawrence(she dyed her hair brown for the film). Casting choices like these may have sparked some of the complaints. Considering that some of the most popular book series  in recent history have made the ALA’s list including “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” “Gossip Girl,” and classics like “The Catcher in the Rye,” the fact that the “The Hunger Games” cracked the list two years in a row is not necessarily a bad thing. If anything, the news might encourage more curious readers to pick up the books to find out what all the buzz is about.