Monday, September 29, 2008

Celebrating Banned Books

It still strikes us that the best way to celebrate Banned Books Week -- which began September 27th and will run until October 4th -- is to find a contested book and read it. Think about it: what would happen if we all did that? How would it make those who challenged books feel if they knew that the most their attentions accomplished was to make more people read the books they would ban?

To that end, here’s the American Library Association’s list of most challenged books of 2007. As you’ll see, there’s something here for everyone:

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
Reasons: Racism

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

And while we’re at it, here’s the ALA’s list of most frequently challenged authors of 2007:
1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar
The ALA’s Banned Books Week Web site is here. And please ignore the Los Angeles Times’ cooler-than-thou arms akimbo posturing here. Because talking about reading is good. And actually reading is even better. And anything that gets us thinking about and talking about reading is good. Period. So there.

Now go read a banned book.



Blogger Sparrowhawk said...

Ahhh...good old banned books week. I remember we used to put up a big display at the public library I worked at. We put up books that had been "challenged" or banned in schools, libraries, etc, but we tried to put up the ones that would surprise people. So many people would come up who just didn't get it. "Why'd y'all ban the bible?" No...we didn't ban the bible. It's just been challenged before. I'd like to think it helped drive the point home for people...the point that we shouldn't ban books just because they make us uncomfortable, because the very same thing could happen to something YOU hold the Bible. I don't really think a lot of people got it though.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008 at 8:16:00 AM PDT  

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