Given history, I suppose it’s amazing I even got the chance to read SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK when I was a kid in the 90s. I was doing more reading on the upcoming documentary being made on this and learned something I never quite knew previously: This was among the most banned book of the 1990s..
The interesting thing that I have been encountering as I begin to talk about this documentary is the question of how I can “bill” the Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark series. It is listed as the most banned book between 1990-1999 and remained at #7 in 2000-2009. It was #1 on the list for several years in the 1990s. In the 21st Century there are a number of other books that have taken the mantel for most frequently banned… Harry Potter is often up there, and recently the bookAnd Tango Makes Three is often high on the list because of the presence of a homosexual couple (animals though they may be). So although Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is no longer top on the list, for the last 25 years that the American Library Association has been compiling a list, it has been a major title on the list. The original books are over 20 years old at this point, and yet they still show up on the lists amongst more widespread and known books such as Harry Potter and Huckleberry Finn. That says something.
I remember the moment I got my first SCARY STORIES book.. it was during grade school when a book fair truck came and set up in the school gym.. I found this black book with a skull on it and somehow was attracted to the concept and stories.. It became a treasure for me and then, with each new one, I would buy them up for the collection.
The most amazing part, given history of book bans, is that I bought my SCARY STORIES book at a Catholic school book fair! The same Catholic school that suspended me for a day for bringing a fake Freddy Kreuger glove to class in fourth grade for our field trip..
I suppose the school’s nuns couldn’t be aware of every book that was sold. And even more, I ponder if the book seller was secretly trying to fight the pop culture movement at the time to hide these books from kids.
If it wasn’t for the SCARY STORIES books, my appreciation of the paranormal and even love of drawing perhaps would never have blossomed. I bet there’s a lot of 90s kids in the same boat as me because of this series..
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