Banned Books Week 2012

5 Oct

In case you didn’t know this week is Banned Books Week. If you didn’t know it was Banned Books Week, then you probably weren’t aware that in the US people still try to actually have books banned. Not even kidding. Of course the government doesn’t do that so good luck to them, but people still challenge books on all levels. Public libraries and school libraries are usually the main focus of these uptight wannabe book banning silly folks.

The majority of complaints revolve around concern for children and what they might read. Goodness forbid that a parent actually takes the time to be aware of what their children are reading and make an educated decision based on real facts. It is so much easier to write an angry letter to the board (be it a school board or library board) demanding Sherman Alexie AND Stephenie Meyer be removed from the shelves!

Typical complaints are of language, sexual content, religious views, occult, homosexuality, violence, drug use, etc. My favorite is the fact that people complain about too much religion (Twilight books), not enough religion (The Golden Compass), AND occult (Harry Potter and probably every book with magic in it EVER). Funny how you never hear anything about people demanding a television show be taken off air for any of these reasons! We wouldn’t have anything left to watch.

You know what is so great about public libraries? We offer choices for everyone! If you don’t like what is in a book, the solution is very simple.

Just don’t read it! 

As for school libraries, many folks believe that they should be even more selective, so as not to influence our impressionable youth in a negative fashion. These kids are on Facebook, they watch MTV (although I really don’t understand why), most of them have smart phones, and all of them know how to use a computer. If there is information you don’t want them to find, it is pretty much guaranteed they will find it. If anything a school should be the perfect place to present children and teens with new ideas by which they can learn and grow.

In a school environment a student might actually feel encouraged to read about people who are different from themselves and be willing to ask questions. If we hide away all the “questionable” books then we are only going to create a lot of secretive, misinformed folks that might not be able to handle the real world when they grow up.

And if you still don’t want your kids reading something, just tell them so. Discuss it with them in a reasonable manner. I have a daughter and I’m sure there are books I don’t really want her reading at a young age. However, if she decides that there is something she really wants to read and I think she might be too young still I will not stop her. I will let her know to come to me with any questions and answer all of them honestly.

Here’s a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2011 as reported by the Office of Intellectual Freedom.

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

View the most challenged book of the 21st century here.

View the most challenged authors of the 21st century here.

For more information please visit ALA’s site about Banned Books.


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