Monday, September 26, 2011

Banned Book Week - Being Aware

September 24 - October 1, 2011 has been designated Banned Book Week celebration. 

Honestly, I'm not sure what there is to celebrate. Though the slogan is Freedom To Read. That I can get on board with. For me, I think this should simply be a week of awareness. Yes there are people out there who wish to force censorship on others. And yes, there are books out there that deal with inappropriate subjects for young kids. But yes, nobody HAS to read those books if they don't want to. 

This is why I'm a firm advocate for parents reading what their kids read. So your not into vampires? Well, if your teens want to read it... wait, let me restate this because I've seen kids in fifth and sixth grade carrying around the Twilight books... if your child wants to read a book, they will find a way. When they are young, it's easier to monitor what they are allowed to read. But teens simply have easier access to books and a wise parent will keep up and share in what interest your teens. 

When my daughter pointed out the Twilight books, at first I was hesitant. She let me know she was planning to get the books and read them. So I picked one up and bought it, telling her we'd both read it. I'm glad I did. This opened a door to discussions that never would have happened otherwise. I actually ended up enjoying the books. If I'd listened to critics and naysayers... well, there's many books on the list below that I've read and I don't understand why they are even being challenged. 

I've also read some awful books, teen books, that really disgusted me and I don't see them on this list, either.  

Parent, be smart. Pay attention. Don't take someone's word for it, look into the book yourself. 

My suggestion is to take this list and not use it as a basis for what your kids can't read, but what you might look into with them if they take an interest in one of these titles. Yes, there are some tough and touchy issues in these books. But life is tough and touchy and we need books that will help us experience these parts of life, to ponder over and come to conclusions on what we believe or don't believe. 

What's the difference between a challenge and a banning? 

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group.  A banning is the removal of those materials.  Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others.  Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection. (from the ALA banned book website. Please click title link if you want more information)

Top Ten Challenged Books 

  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie; 
  3. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley; 
  4. Crank, by Ellen Hopkins; 
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins; 
  6. Lush, by Natasha Friend; 
  7. What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones; 
  8. Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich; 
  9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie; 
  10. Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle; 
  2. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson; 
  3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky; 
  4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee; 
  5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer; 
  6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger; 
  7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult; 
  8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler; 
  9. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker; 
  10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier

You can also check out the following link for a list of banned and challenged classics: 

Banned and/or Challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century

Happy Reading Friends,
The Queen

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