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!
Let’s examine two wildly popular titles today:
Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
I love this tiny book so hard. First because it is set in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA and second because the setting is the 80s which is also when I grew up, although the author is a couple years younger than I am. Our experiences are kind of similar: no cell phones, record players, pac man and hairspray to name a few. This is a coming of age tale that is beautifully told about the man character who suffers from some dangerous mental health issues.
Charlie is attempting to navigate his way through uncharted territory: the world of first dates and mix tapes, family dramas and new friends; the world of sex, drugs, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he can’t stay on the sideline forever. Standing on the fringes of life offers a unique perspective. But there comes a time to see what it looks like from the dance floor.
I am a tad confused about why books about teens and intended for teens should be completely sterile. Kids want to read about situations that are similar to what they are experiencing; at least when they are reading realistic fiction, right? So why then, do people insist on challenging books that “…deals with sexual situations and drug use.” ?
Again, this is a title you should read for yourself.
Another wildly popular book is
Looking for Alaska by John Green
This is by far my fave John Green book.
Miles “Pudge” Halter’s whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the “Great Perhaps” (François Rabelais, poet) even more. He heads off to the sometimes crazy, possibly unstable, and anything-but-boring world of Culver Creek Boarding School, and his life becomes the opposite of safe. Because down the hall is Alaska Young. The gorgeous, clever, funny, sexy, self-destructive, screwed-up, and utterly fascinating Alaska Young, who is an event unto herself. She pulls Pudge into her world, launches him into the Great Perhaps, and steals his heart.
Oh how this title reminds me of some of the books we read in high school: the what’s it all about and how do i make a difference in this world type of books!
The book was challenged because of sexual content. Again. Teens, experimenting with sex. It’s what they do, right? This one, however, is rather mild considering what I’ve read in other books. It’s a botched BJ and while that might not be appropriate material for young teens or even middle grade readers, I guarantee your older teen has read worse. Or heard worse on the bus. Check it out for yourself before you pass judgement. As always, parents have a right to decide what’s best for their own kiddos, just not for everyone.
What are your thoughts on these two?