I wasn't surprised to see Slaughterhouse Five show up when I did a google search for banned or challenged science fiction and fantasy books. But I was pretty stunned to learn that Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes (published as a novel in 1966), was number 43 on the American Library Association's list of the 100 Most Frequently Challenged Books of 1990-1999.
Flowers for Algernon tells the story of a young man of very low intelligence whose IQ is raised to genius level through a miracle of modern medicine. And that's all I'll say, not wanting to spoil any of the rest of it.
Apparently, the parts of the book where Charlie struggles to understand himself as a sexual person are troubling. In January 1970, for instance, two school boards in Canada banned Flowers for Algernon from their ninth-grade curricula and the school library, after a parent complained that it was "filthy and immoral". From Wikipedia: "The president of the BC Teachers' Federation criticized the action. Flowers for Algernon was part of the BC Department of Education list of approved books for grade nine and was recommended by the BC Secondary Association of Teachers of English. A month later, the board reconsidered and returned the book to the library; they did not, however, lift its ban from the curriculum."
I was in eighth grade when I read it the first time. I don't remember the "filthy and immoral" bits.*
I remember how much I cried.
I remember how my arrogant attitude that intelligence was the standard by which to judge people received a powerful and much needed kick in the tail.
I remember crying more.
Why anyone would want to keep their kids from reading this lesson in compassion is beyond me. They probably hadn't read it.
* Ant this is not because I was hardened and jaded--my mind was still very much that of a pure and innocent child. I think. It was, after all, not until ninth grade that I read Clan of the Cave Bear et al., by Jean M. Auel (frequently challenged) and Forever, by Judy Blume (which of course is so challenged as to not be worth mentioning).