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Friday, 28 September, 2001, 09:38 GMT 10:38 UK
Harry Potter slated for 'Satanism'
Daniel Radcliffe (centre) stars as Harry Potter
Harry Potter the film will be released in November
The Harry Potter series are among the books most often queried as to their suitability for US schools and libraries.

Critics, usually parents, regularly accuse JK Rowling's tales of a trainee sorcerer of "Satanism".

John Steinbeck's classic Of Mice and Men and Maya Angelou's I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings are also on a list of "challenged" books.

The American Library Association (ALA) publish the list to highlight the fact that many books widely considered to be classics are often criticised in this way.

Maya Angelou
Angelou was honoured by Clinton in 2000
Judith Krug of the ALA says it issues the list "to raise awareness about censorship and remind Americans that our freedoms can be fragile if we are not vigilant in protecting them".

The ALA defines a challenge as a formal, written complaint filed with a school library about a book's content or appropriateness.

Nobel Winner Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men was criticised for its strong language and violence.

The book tells the story of a pair of lonely drifters living on the margins of society in California.

John Steinbeck
Steinbeck won the Nobel Prize in 1962
It was made into a 1992 film starring John Malkovich and Gary Sinise.

Poet Angelou, who recited her work at the inauguration of former US President Bill Clinton, published I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in 1970.

The first volume of her autobiography later became a best-seller in the US.

It has been challenged on the grounds that it includes racism and sexual content.

Other books on the list include Robert Cormier's The Chocolate War, cited for violence and Caroline Cooney's The Terrorist.

The Terrorist is a young adult novel about a boy killed after being handed an explosive package on a London train.

The book proved controversial long before the recent attacks on the US.

"The complaints are because the alleged terrorist is an Arab," Krug said.

The ALA reports 646 challenges in 2000, up from 472 in 1999, and believes this represents just a fraction of actual complaints.

But Krug added that books rarely end up being banned.

See also:

26 Sep 01 | Business
Harry Potter brings wizard sales
24 Sep 01 | Film
Toy shop bans Harry Potter
17 Feb 01 | Northern Ireland
Steinbeck family had NI links
21 Dec 00 | Entertainment
Clinton honours arts stars
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