Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom To Read
All this week I’ll be celebrating banned books week by highlighting challenged or banned books. Why is banned books week important? According to the American Library Association (of which I’m a member),
By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.
As a parent, you have a right to decide what your own children should be exposed to, but I strongly believe that you do not have the right to dictate what other children have access to. So, let’s celebrate the books that have been challenged and see if you’ve read any of them and you can make the decision for yourself. Each day of Banned Books Week I’ll highlight several of the titles that were challenged or banned last year. Let’s see how they stack up. Also? This is a blog hop so I’ll giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to the winner!
The Absolutely true Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
There aren’t many books about Native American students so this book is important on that level. To be sure, this book is not for little kids, but I guarantee that what’s inside is no different than what your teens hear or say on the bus and at school. It’s relevant and they need to learn to appreciate Native American culture. Here’s what it’s about:
n his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.
Here’s why it was challenged:
Removed as required reading in a Queens,N.Y. middle school (2013) because the book included excerpts on masturbation. The book, which tells the story of a Native American who transfers into an all-white high school, won the 2007 National Book Foundation award for Young People’s Literature. Challenged on the tenth-grade required reading list at Skyview High School in Billings, Mt. (2013) because “[t]his book is, shockingly, written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people and does it from the crude, obscene, and unfiltered viewpoint of a ninth-grader growing up on the reservation.” Pulled from the Jefferson County, W.V. schools (2013) because a parent complained about the novel’s graphic nature. Challenged in a Sweet Home, Oreg. Junior High English class (2014) because of concerns about its content, particularly what some parents see as the objectification of women and young girls, and the way alternative lessons were developed and presented. Parents of the eighth-graders in the language arts classes received information summarizing the novel’s most controversial issues before the unit started and had the option of asking for an alternative assignment.
What are your thoughts? Worth challenging/banning?
The House of the Sprits by Isabel Allende
I’m fast tracking this title to my TBR list. Based on the description I am reminded of my beloved Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism is where it is AT, y’all. Allende is going to be my new bestie. Here’s what it’s about:
n one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.
At first blush it might seem like the story is about the man; but from what I’ve gathered it’s about the women of the family with the patriarch being the common thread. Here’s why it was challenged:
Challenged in the Watauga County, N.C. High School (2013) curriculum because of the book’s graphic nature. After a five-month process, the book was fully retained at a third and final appeal hearing.
The graphic nature the challenge refers to is sexual violence. While I don’t condone that sort of thing in real life, there are many books that contain this element that students read year in and year out. Choose for yourself. Meanwhile, I’m grabbing this title from the bookstore tonight!
Stay tuned next time for another look into Banned Books Week. What do you think of these titles? Would you read them? Have you read them?
Don’t forget to enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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