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!
Today we’re featuring books by African Americans.
Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Ironically, Fallen Angels was
Challenged on the Danbury Middle School reading list in Toledo, Ohio (2013) because of inappropriate language. The book depicts the reality of the Vietnam War, with sometimes gruesome descriptions of combat and frequent foul language from soldiers.
But here’s the question that I’d like answered: what kind of language would you expect soldiers to use? I know the books are for young teens but depicting soldiers using language that is a little too clean, might be a little too unrealistic. I don’t know about where you live, but around here, Fallen Angels is on many schools’ required reading lists.
Have you read it?
Next lets visit Ralph Ellison.
Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Please don’t confuse Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison with The Invisible Man by HG Wells!
As he journeys from the Deep South to the streets and basements of Harlem, from a horrifying “battle royal” where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellison’s nameless protagonist ushers readers into a parallel universe that throws our own into harsh and even hilarious relief. Suspenseful and sardonic, narrated in a voice that takes in the symphonic range of the American language, black and white, Invisible Man is one of the most audacious and dazzling novels of our century.
For the same reasons that Invisible Man is an important read to understand the struggles of the African American community, Invisible Man has also been challenged. To be sure, the book contains strong language but you cannot properly depict the struggles of that era by using tame language, I think. Either way, it’ll make you think.
Have you read either of these books or anything by Walter Dean Myers?