Screenshot of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver via Youtube

A parody children’s book released by the host of HBO’s Last Week Tonight, John Oliver, ranks second on the list of top banned or challenged books in schools and libraries, according to a new report.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo tells the story of Vice President Mike Pence’s pet rabbit Bundo, who discovers his gay identity and falls in love with another hare named Wesley. Pence is portrayed in the book as an oppressive, white-haired stink bug who tries to prevent the two rabbits from getting married. “When Marlon, Wesley, and their supportive animal community realize that they can choose who is in charge of their society, they vote out the Stink Bug and the couple is married surrounded by their friends,” the book description reads.

The book is a riff on a children’s book written by the Vice President’s daughter Charlotte Pence and illustrated by his wife Karen Pence. The book, which bears a similar title, narrates a day in the life of the vice president’s pet rabbit.

After its release in March 2018, Oliver’s version outsold the vice president’s book and replaced former FBI Director James Comey’s at Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller spot.

The American Library Association and the Office for Intellectual Freedom release an annual report on the 10 most challenged book titles in the country (this year, 11), based on censorship in schools and libraries. Alex Gino’s George tops the list. According to the report, the book was banned, challenged, and relocated because it was believed to encourage children to clear browser history and change their bodies using hormones, and for mentioning “dirty magazines,” describing male anatomy, “creating confusion,” and including a transgender character.

Other books on the list include the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. The series was challenged because it encourages “disruptive behavior.” One of the books in the series, Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-A-Lot was challenged for including a same-sex couple. Three other books on the list have been challenged for including LGBTQIA+ content — two of which were burned (This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman and Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan). The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas was banned for “anti-cop” behavior, profanity and sexual references, while Jay Asher’s Thirteen Reasons Why was banned for addressing teen suicide.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is written by Last Week Tonight’s staff writer Jill Twiss and illustrated by EG Keller. All proceeds from the book go to LBGTQ non-profits The Trevor Project and AIDS United.

Read the full 2018 “Top 11 Most Challenged Books” list below:

  1. George by Alex Gino
  2. A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo by Jill Twiss, illustrated by EG Keller
  3. Captain Underpants series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey
  4. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
  5. Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  7. This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
  8. Skippyjon Jones series written and illustrated by Judy Schachner
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  10. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten
  11. Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant and he holds an MFA in Art Writing from the School of Visual...

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