We all know the importance of knowledge and learning, right? I don’t want to waste anymore time talking about why banning books is dumb. Let’s celebrate the great books that have been challenged and you can decide for yourself what you think.
1.Â 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. Â 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, andÂ The Rocky Horror Picture Show, when all one requires is that perfect song on that perfect drive to feel infinite. But he canât 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 thatÂ ââ¦deals withÂ sexual situations and drug use.â ?
Again, this is a title you should read for yourself.
2.Â Looking for Alaska by John Green
This is by far my fave John Green book.
Miles âPudgeâ Halterâs whole existence has been one big nonevent, and his obsession with famous last words has only made him crave the âGreat Perhapsâ (FranÃ§ois 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 whatâs it all aboutÂ and how do i make a difference in this world type of books!
The book was challenged because of sexual content. Â Again. Teens, experimenting with sex. Itâs what they do, right? Â This one, however, is rather mild considering what Iâve read in other books. Â Itâs 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 whatâs best for their own kiddos, just not for everyone.
3. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Ironically, Fallen Angels was
Challenged on the Danbury Middle SchoolÂ reading list in Toledo, Ohio (2013) becauseÂ of inappropriate language. The book depictsÂ the reality of the Vietnam War, withÂ sometimes gruesome descriptions ofÂ combat and frequent foul language fromÂ soldiers.
But hereâs the question that Iâd 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. Â I donât know about where you live, but around here, Fallen Angels is on many schoolsâ required reading lists.
Have you read it?
4.Â Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
Please donât 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 âbattle royalâ where black men are reduced to fighting animals, to a Communist rally where they are elevated to the status of trophies, Ralph Ellisonâs 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,Â Invisible ManÂ 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. Â Either way, itâll make you think. This book is so so so well written.
5.Â The Librarian of Basra:Â A True Story from Iraq
There is so much to learn about the Middle Eastern region and so little time to read.
Alia Muhammad Baker is a librarian in Basra, Iraq. For fourteen years, her library has been a meeting place for those who love books. Until now. Now war has come, and Alia fears that the libraryâalong with the thirty thousand books within itâwill be destroyed forever.
In a war-stricken country where civiliansâespecially womenâhave little power, this true story about a librarianâs struggle to save her communityâs priceless collection of books reminds us all how, throughout the world, the love of literature and the respect for knowledge know no boundaries. Illustrated by Jeanette Winter in bright acrylic and ink.
Sounds great, right? Other people obviously donât feel the same way and have challenged the book âbecause ofÂ violent illustrations and storylineâ which Â is rather irrational because what would kind of story do you expect to hear when reading about a war torn country? Perhaps the age group was not appropriate for the book.