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Since the highly publicized book-burning in Drake 40 years ago, there have been two other instances where books were removed from schools in the state.

In several other cases, books were challenged but ended up being retained.

The most recent instance of a school book ban happened in Beulah in 2009, according to Christine Kujawa, chairwoman of the North Dakota Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee.

“Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” by John Berendt was removed from the Beulah High School library after being challenged by two parents.

The ban lasted four days until the school board reversed its decision, according to a Tribune article at the time.

The other ban occurred in 1987, when “Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger was removed from Napoleon High School’s library and from the sophomore English curriculum.

The ban was challenged and the school board reversed its decision about a month later, according to Kujawa.

Books that have been challenged in schools, but were retained include:

  • 2012, Grand Forks: “Tales of Beetle the Bard” by J.K. Rowling.
  • 2005, Fargo: “A Time to Kill” by John Grisham.
  • 1994, Bismarck: “Christine,” “Carrie,” “Cujo,” “The Dead Zone,” “The Drawing of Three,” “The Eyes of the Dragon,” “Pet Semetary,” “The Shining,” and “Thinner” by Stephen King.
  • 1993: “Deenie” by Judy Blume.
  • 1989: “Devils and Demons” by Rhoda Blumberg.
  • 1983: “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain.

The locations of the final three challenges are unknown since the North Dakota Library Association Intellectual Freedom Committee keeps reports of bans and challenges confidential and The Tribune could not find them in previous news reports.

Of all those books, nine appear on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books lists of the past two decades, including “Slaughterhouse-Five,” which was burned in Drake.

Reach Hannah Johnson at 701-250-8251 or hannah.johnson@bismarcktribune.com.

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