***Banned Book Week September 27th-October 4th***
Perhaps it is my age, but to me the idea of banning books seems antiquated. Like littering, who the hell is trying to ban books in the 21st Century?
Turns out, lots of people. The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. "A challenge?" you might ask, "I thought you said banned books?" A challenge is "defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness." This is the same as asking to have a book banned so using the term Banned Book is accurate.
As will come to no surprise, the majority of people challenging books are parents and the top three reasons include books that are "sexually explicit” contain “offensive language,” and are “unsuited to age group.”
I can certainly understand that there are some books with sex, violence, offensive language that parents may not want their child exposed to. However, the way to prevent exposure is to sit down with your kids and talk about what types of books they are reading. Go over their reading material and have some open dialogue with them to make sure you can deal with questions that may come up if you child stumbles upon a book with questionable material.
In short, Be A Parent.
What you cannot do, however, is tell my child what is appropriate or inappropriate for them. And you certainly cannot tell me what i should or shouldn't be exposed to.
Ideas can be scary, but reading about two male penguins who raise and hatch an egg (based on a true story by the by), isnt going to make your children homosexual. It isnt "Anti-Family" or "Anti-Ethnic."
Why oh why are people scared of ideas? Why do they think that somehow THEY are able to decide what is best for everyone? Why cant they just focus on screwing up their own child?
I could go on and on about banned books and what the hell is wrong with people. There isnt enough time or breath in the world for that.
Here is a list of the top ten challenged books of 2007 and beneath that, the banned book I plan to read. I would invite you to choose a book from this list or from the Top 100 Challenged Books From 2000-2007 list.
1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
I have chosen to read The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier. I have heard the book title as a teen but never picked it up. It is about a boy who refuses to sell chocolate for a school fundraiser and ends up turning the school on its head. Someone who gets in trouble for bucking the system seems like an appropriate subject in these crazy times.
Cubie is reading the Golden Compass by Philip Pullman..mostly because it seemed like the kind of book that as a kid would have pissed off her parents. If you decide to read a banned book, and i hope you do, please let me know which selection you made.