Sunday, September 21, 2008


On my previous blog I posted the ALA (American Library Association) Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. My friend Leah happened to notice that #88 is "Where's Waldo".

You may wonder why it even made the list, and here is the answer.

In the beach scene on page 2 of the first book there is a little boy poking a shovel into the back of a topless tanning woman. As she lurches upward it shows one of her breasts. That's it.

The woman was covered up for the 1997 special edition release.

I've got the original copy of the book so I found it and scanned it.




A few nights ago I was up late with insomnia and I watched three episodes of "Reading Rainbow". They have this portion of the show where children recommend books that they like and this one kid had a book called "Song and Dance Man". The illustrations for the book immediatly struck a chord in my memory and came across as being rather creepy. It took me a moment to figure it out but soon I realized it was the same illustrator who did the "Scary Stories" series of books that I read as a child in the 80's.
I looked them up online the next morning and found I was correct. The drawings in the book were done by Stephen Gammel. There were three books in the series.

* Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
* More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark
* Scary Stories 3: More Tales to Chill Your Bones
All three are written by Alvin Schwartz and illustrated by Stephen Gammel

I knew that I at least owned one of them because I usually read a couple stories to the children at our Halloween party each year. After looking through my books downstairs I found that I own the first and third one.



A quick search on the internet popped up quite a few blogs that mentioned the effect the artwork had on children of the 80's and how certain images still stuck with them even till this day. The stories were scary on their own but the drawings definately solidify them in your mind.


I also remember that they were very popular in my elementry school library and almost always checked out. For a period of time they were removed from the library almost as if they were banned for a short time.

I checked into this and found something interesting. One of the websites I visited had a link to the A.L.A. (American Library Association) Top 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books. This is a list of books that over time have been removed from certain libraries as "questionable".

Want to know which book was #1 on the list? Here it is.


1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

There are 19 books on the list that I've read and what's really kind of funny is that 13 of them were required reading in school (none of them in college). What really amazes me is that the Scary Stories series is top of the list and has gotten more complaints than the others.

I'm going down to the thrift store tomorrow to buy the second Scary Stories book so I can complete my collection.
I'm interested in seeing if any of you have any comments/ memories of these books or if you have a story or image that you remember. Or let me know how many books you've read from the list.