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`Goosebumps' series joins classic `Huck Finn' on banned-book list

Published: Thursday, Sept. 25 1997 12:00 a.m. MDT

A Florida mother says the "Goosebumps" stories for kids are so violent, gory and vengeful that children should not read them. A Chicago librarian says kids love the scary stuff.

One woman's horror story is another's literary landmark. And this year's list of 100 banned and challenged books includes a number that are considered American classics, including Mark Twain's "Huckleberry Finn" and John Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."The Chicago-based American Library Association releases the list each year to raise awareness about censorship. This year's list coincides with the 16th Banned Books Week, which ends Saturday.

The list includes Alice Walker's "The Color Purple," Herman Melville's "Moby Dick" and Nathaniel Hawthorne's "The Scarlet Letter."

Newer books that made the list include Earvin "Magic" Johnson's 1992 book "What You Can Do to Avoid AIDS," and the "Goosebumps" stories that R.L. Stine began writing in 1982.

Mary Dempsey, who heads Chicago's public library system, says Stine's tales - admittedly scary and gory - are wildly popular with the younger set.

"They're the `Nancy Drew' of the '90s," she said.

Lisa Clinton, the Florida mom, tried unsuccessfully to get the "Goosebumps" books banned in her third-grade daughter's school district.

"The Goosebumps series goes beyond being scary - it is filled with violence, fear, cruelty, revenge and murder," Clinton said.

" `Banned Books Week' is nothing more than an attempt to bully any parent, teacher or librarian who may disagree with the ALA's agenda," Tom Minnery of the Christian ministry, Focus on the Family, said in Chicago last week.

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