Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Book Week

September 26th - October 3rd celebrates Banned Book Week! The ABFFE has some excellent ideas to help support this year's festivities including readouts, discussion forums and ideas for fighting censorship.

I often forget the freedom we have to read what we want when we want to. Banning a book sounds so harsh and I can't believe it still happens year after year. This past years most challenged books include:

1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

8. Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

I say let's here it for the rebels out there! The only book I've read on this past year's list was TTYL - which I admit I was surprised by the content, but I NEVER wanted the book to be banned. It seems anytime a book (especially a YA) comes too close to the truth, people freak out. Why is this?

For more information and statistics on Banned Books, visit the American Library Association's website Frequently challenged books of the 21st century.

It looks like I've got a lot of reading to do if I want to support all of the banned book author's out there!


Bane of Anubis said...

I can understand limiting books in elementary schools to a certain extent, but the idea of banning a book outright always struck me as odd. If you don't like the topic/idea/etc., don't pick up the book. If you're a parent, you can screen what you're kids are reading to a certain extent, but sometime you've got to let them spread their wings and actually learn their own ideals/beliefs (which, most of the time, eventually line up with their parents').

I've read The Kite Runner (great book, excellent writing) and His Dark Materials (1st one was interesting to a degree, but writing was a bit too overt and preachy-to-the-choirish)... neither offended me at all, but were I religious, I could see how HDM could be inciting (but are we banning anti-anti-religion books?)

J.J. Bennett said...

Bane I agree and I work in a library. I hated finding out some of my favorites were on the banned book list... Sad.

Laura Martone said...

I don't know... I'd go so far as to say that banning books isn't just "odd" - it's downright horrendous! Look, if Michael Moore has the right to make and distribute his ridiculously slanted films, then authors should have ultimate freedom, too. After all, we have the ultimate freedom to NOT buy a book. It disgusts me that people are willing to ban books they can't agree with - they're the same people (typically) who believe gay men and women shouldn't be able to get married, and don't get me started on that!

Um, er, clearly, this is a touchy subject for me. :-)

Steph Damore said...

Laura - I know what you mean. I seriously thought banned books were a thing of the past. The fact that books are still challenged is ridiculous!

Bane's right, if you don't like a book, don't read it! It's not forced upon you like some media.

I'm not a fan of censorship in general. I agree that we have an obligation to protect our children, but there's better way to do that than banning books.

J.J. Bennett said...

I look at it as freedom of speech...

Steph Damore said...

Jen - Good point. I talk to my students a lot about freedom of speech in my Argumentative Writing class. The general consensus is that if it's not slander or causing unlawful behavior, then it should be tolerated - whether you personally like what someone is saying/writing or not.