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In honor of Banned Books Week, we're grabbing our dusty copy of Herman Melville's Moby-Dick (banned in 1996 from an Advanced English class in Lindale, TX, because it perplexingly "conflicted with their community values") and other classics that continue to circulate, despite censorship efforts.  

Every year, the American Civil Liberties Union of Texas releases their annual list of banned, restricted and retained tomes in Texas schools. While major cities, like Houston, have excellent report cards, smaller Lone Star towns have more opinions about what readers can check out. Here's our top five head-scratching, you've-got-to-be-kidding-me additions from the past couple of years. (Psst: It's been ruff for children's books about dogs.)

 The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

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School: Poth Junior High School; Floresville, TX

Tweetable Plot: In this 1843 short story, the narrator tries to justify his Robert Durst-style murder to readers. Spoiler alert: There's a literal heart-pounding ending.

Reason Cited: "Violence or horror; offensive to religious sensitivities"

Action Taken: Banned 

I Hate My Bow by Hans Wilhelm

 

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School: Red Lick Elementary School; Texarkana, TX

Tweetable Plot: Dog meets bow. Dog doesn't like bow. Dog wants to play in mud. Dog plays in mud.

Reason Cited: "Parent didn’t like the word 'hate'"

Action Taken: Banned 

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Mockingbird arwtev

School: Taylor Middle School; Taylor, TX

Tweetable Plot: Racism is bad, life's not fair and Atticus Finch is still our hero. See also: Pulitzer. Prize. WINNER. 

Reason Cited: "Politically, racially, or socially offensive."

Action Taken: Retained

Pugdog by Andrea U'Ren 

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School: Beck Elementary; Trophy Club, TX

Tweetable Plot: Dog owner thinks his dog is a boy. Dog owner knows nothing about dogs. Dog is a girl. Number of readers harmed by this revelation: Zero.

Reason Cited: "Politically, racially, or socially offensive; about gender confusion & identity; also promotes cross dressing"

Action Taken: Retained

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

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School: Kirbyville Junior High School; Kirbyville, TX

Tweetable Plot: This book follows the days of a theater-loving 7th grader and, as Pub Weekly puts it, "sweetly captures all the drama swirling around the school production." Spoiler alert: Members of the drama dept are—gasp—gay.

Reason Cited: "Politically, racially, or socially offensive."

Action Taken: Banned

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