Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Banned Books Week

This week is Banned Books Week presented by the American Library Association. If you click on the link and search around on the site, you'll come across a list of frequently challenged books, such as The Color Purple and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, as well as the top 100 most challenged books from 1990-2000 and 2000-2007. No. 1 on the 2000-2007 list? Harry Potter. Others include:

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Blubber, by Judy Blume (she's on the list FIVE times)
The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
Goosebumps series, by R.L. Stine

(Other links, Pop Culture Junkie, PopCandy and the Guardian (via PopCandy))

And many, many more. I fortunately went to schools where, not only were these books in our libraries, we actually read them in class. My parents trusted me to make my own choices when it came to reading, knowing I was mature enough to handle the issues, and if I had questions I could come to them. It continues to surprise me that we still live in a society where parents and officials are so uncomfortable with important life issues such as racism, slavery, sexuality and growing up that they fight to keep kids from reading some really great authors. Maya Angelou! Toni Morrison! Lois Lowry! These women are amazing, award-winning authors for a reason. Don't they know that, in most cases, when you tell a child she can't do something, she's going to find a way to do it anyway - especially when it's as harmless as reading.

What about you? Do you see any of your favorite books on the lists?


willikat said...

TONS of my favorite books were on the list. I read it yesterday. And I was thinking how I might be a different person if I hadn't read them: Judy Blume books, for one, which made an awful time an awful lot easier. Perks of Being A Wallflower, which I loved but I imagine it would speak to high schoolers even more, Color Purple, oh and KATHERINE PATERSON--the great gilly hopkins, bridge to terabithia....so many important, good authors and books. I could go on and on! I was going to blog about this too.

CMS said...

The Giver is one of my all-time favorite books. People want to ban this book (and others on the list) because the subject matter is "disturbing" or "challenging" for junior high students, dealing with issues of suicide and euthanasia and the disturbing "utopian" society filled with conformity and control. It's a beautiful book.
Lois Lowry addressed the issue by stating:"I think fiction, in order to say anything, has to startle and upset you at some point. To be a book that affects you, it has to make you think."