Banned Book Week
Confronting banned books makes you stop and think. Why do I feel this way? Are my feelings valid, biased, or conflicted? If you stop and think about it, you can probably understand why a parent would want to ban a book. But choosing books for your child is a right of each parent, not a school board or other governing body.
That said, some people have gone to jail over their decisions regarding banned books. What banned book would you go to jail defending?
Me? Probably I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou.
What about you?
I’m sure most adults are familiar with the tragic story of Anne Frank and her family.Â Most adults have also probably read the book in high school as a reading assignment.Â To be sure, the story is depressing, tragic, and at times, unreal.Â After all, it is difficult to imagine a time when people where being killed for professing a certain religious belief.
Irrespective of when you last read Anne Frank, read it again as an adult. More pointedly, as a parent.Â It will change your mindset.Â My heart hurts that a young girl is forced to hide for so long only to ultimately perish in one of the worst ways possible.Â As a mother with a daughter of a similar age, it hurts that the girl doesnt have the best relationship with her own mother.
If this is such a classic book, why then is it on the banned book list? To be sure, the story of The Holocaust is grossly violent, but most people believe it is truth and history so worthy of being studied.Â To be sure, everyone knows the young Anne dies in the end, which is tragic.Â This story, however, contains more than these facts: it’s a story about relationships and the girl’s view of the world.
Anne’s death isn’t described in detail unlike much teen literature that’s available today.Â There is also no description ofÂ violence, no sex, and no vampires: reasons which other books have been banned.Â Challengers to the book claim that some versions of Anne Frank’s book contain sexually explicit and homosexual scenes.Â The version I had did not contain those scenes. And so what if they did?
Regardless of the version you read, you cannot ban this book because some versions have scenes which you find objectionable or because of violent back stories.Â It is your right as a parent to choose what your child reads. You cannot choose what other people’s children read.
Books want to be freely read. Agree? Disagree? Want more? Go see what others are reading and talking about this week!
P.S.Â There is a newish book out, fiction, I believe, about her sister Margot.Â Has anyone read it?
I give this book and other banned books 4 paws!
Revisiting Go Ask Alice: I know schools are still requiring this book. Since my original post I’ve discovered that research suggests that this book is truly a work of fiction and not based on a real person.
Wow. Go Ask Alice is my current read for Banned Books Week. And all I can say is: Wow. Seriously. Supposedly based on a diary of a young teenage girl, the book had me gripped from beginning to end.
I’m sure the book was banned due to its drug use and sex references. But, unlike some books (and many movies) these experiences are NOT glamorized at all. At ALL. The main character (whom I do NOT believe to be named Alice, although she references an Alice) complains and suffers bitterly because of her drug use.
If she could do a PSA I’m pretty sure she would say “don’t use drugs. ever!” But, alas, she does not get the chance.
Multiculturalism is a sticky wicket in this book. I am 100% certain that all the characters in this book are Anglo, however, the main character does interact with her Jewish friend. The setting is a middle class neighborhood in the early 70s where mothers still stayed at home, etc. The sticky wicket is the drug activity. A few references to homosexuality bump this book up to slightly more pluralistic viewpoint than many of the other books I’ve read recently.
Something scary about this? I just NOW noticed that there is a face on the cover of this book. Wow. Never saw that before and I look at this book OFTEN.
I HIGHLY recommend that you read this book with your children. Young teens (13+) need to get this lesson.
I wonder why it wasn’t made into a movie?
This is a Four Paw read if there ever was!
Let’s revisit some previously banned books. Enjoy!
Hello, American-type chums! (Perhaps you say “Howdy” in America—I don’t know—but then I’m not really sure where Tibet is either, or my lipstick)
If you’re not laughing after reading the first lines from this book there is something wrong with you, like you’re missing your funny bone. This is one of the funniest young adult books I’ve read in a while! The main character, Georgia Nicolson, reminds me of a young Bridget Jones: endearing and goofy. This is a character that I can relate to (I either was her in middle school or I was friends with her), and probably many young teens can too.
The setting of the book (and I understand there is a series) is England; an English girls’ school. So, while not very multicultural, readers can learn about British life and culture from a kid’s perspective and compare it to their own lives.
The interesting bit about this book is that I can’t understand why it is a challenged book. The sexual references are very slight, in my opinion, and not offensive (if you know anything about young teen girls this is certainly relevant to what they talk about). There is no cursing and none of the characters engage in sexual activity, drugs or drinking. Although I guess the word snogging is somewhat sexual, at least in the UK, although it’s practically a nonsense word here in the states. Which is prolly why I love it!
This is a delightful, fabby, marvy, and gorgey book. I give it four paws!
p.s. did i mention i got this used at a thrift store? SCORE!!
p.p.s I STILL love it!
I canât remember when I read it.Â Maybe sometime in middle school?Â 9th grade?Â No idea.
I know exactly when I read George Orwellâs Animal Farm because I read it under extreme duress.Â 10th grade.Â 1 weekend.Â Laying on my bedroom floor.Â Thank God it was brief.
But much to its credit, Mockingbird just sort of floats in my memory as a book I took in somewhere along the way.
I remember feeling such a surge of sensitivity for Jem and Scout as they tried to simply be kids in a tumultuous time and place.Â In comparison to them, my childhood was very easy.Â I wasnât defending my father in public places for a decision that he made based on his ethical standards.Â Thatâs got to be brutal and I canât relate.
Harper Lee could have chosen to have the entire story orbit around race relations, but her introduction of Boo Radley was special.Â Aside from the seriousness of their fatherâs professional duties, Jem, Scout, and Dill had a little project of their own in discovering just what Boo was all about.Â I know that my friends and I used to speculate about people in town, or people living on a certain street.Â I am pretty sure all kids are hardwired to do that sort of thing because they like mystery and secrets and are crafty enough to come up with stories of their own if something doesnât readily present itself.Â I found that aspect of the story very relatable.
To Kill A Mockingbird is a beautiful book that I feel should be read and discussed.Â To understand what is happening now is to understand what happened in the past.Â Readers are more openminded today than ever.Â We should all be reading books that were banned to better understand those that read before us.Â What scared them makes us think.Â We have the privilege of seeing things differently and with a broader scope, and shame on us if we donât take advantage of that.Â The real crime isnât reading a banned book; itâs being afraid to find out what lies between its covers.
*Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â *Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â *
I couldn’t agree more that banned books help us understand things that we don’t understand. While I did not enjoy reading Mockingbird in the near recent past, my opinion does not negate this book and its importance in any way.Â In fact, prolly makes it invaluable.Â Thanks to Maggie Mitchell for bringing this heartfelt post.Â You can find my Mags at The Grey Blog.
Maggie Mitchell is a full-time mama to a magical little girl and publisher at Bushbaby Press. Â Maggie has written two children’s books–The Big Stink! inÂ 2011, and Kacey the Paper CatÂ in 2012. Â She (occasionally) writes a personal blog called The Grey Blog and contributes to Handmade in PA, the community blog of the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen with her column “Buy, Buy Baby.”
Maggie is a graduate of Elizabethtown College and West Chester University. Â She lives very happily in West Chester, PA with her husband, daughter, and Kacey, the Paper Cat.
To KICK OFF Banned book week, I’m joining forces with Sheila at Book Journey and celebrating BANNED BOOKS by giving away a copy of To Kill a Mockingbird.Â If you haven’t read it, now’s your chance!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy entry:
Caroline Bookbinder wrote a blog post about reading through the banned books of the 2000s.
I loved the idea so much I decided to do the same. Surprisingly, I did not do this last year and I’m not sure why. Anyway, my reads are in bold.
Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank
Have you read any banned books? why or why not?
I like to hear both sides of the argument, so no judging here.
p.s. i find it real interesting that many of the banned books don’t fit the “normal” lifestyle and are about people with alternative views, which doesnt fit my multicultural and inclusive beliefs.