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    Banned Books by Keira
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  • Published: Oct 3rd, 2007

AvatarWhat do the classics The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird have in common? They’ll be celebrated as part of the American Library Association’s (ALA) Banned Books Week (BBW) celebrations from September 29 to October 6.

A challenge is a person expressing a point of view and is also an attempt to remove or restrict materials from the curriculum or library, based upon the objections of a person or group, thereby restricting the access of others. A banning is the removal of those materials. The top three reasons usually cited for challenging (and banning) material are that it’s considered to be “sexually explicit,” contain “offensive language,” and be “unsuited to age group.”

BannedBooksWeek2007While books usually are challenged with the best of intentions—to protect children from difficult ideas and information—censorship, whether subtle and imperceptible, or blatant and overt, is nonetheless harmful. As Ray Bradbury says, “You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” Implied here is that the sum of a culture is contained within the pages of a book.

Authors who frequented the ALA list of top 100 most frequently challenged books of the 1990s, included Judy Blume, Alvin Schwartz, and Toni Morrison. Surprises for me were the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling and the Earth Children series by Jean Auel.

For this year, the list of adult books includes I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, and The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. The young adult list contains Forever by Judy Blume, The Giver by Lois Lowry, and Whale Talk by Chris Crutcher. The corresponding children’s books are In a Dark, Dark Room by Alvin Schwartz, The Stupids Step Out by Harry Allard, Captain Underpants and the Preposterous Plight of the Purple Potty People by Dav Pilkey, and It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris.

QuestionMarkDo you think books should be banned? Are there cases where it’s clearly warranted?

7 Responses to “Banned Books by Keira”

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  1. sarahkates
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 10:43 am

    Not realizing it… I celebrated Banned Books Week by reading a banned book. I just finished reading Speak by Laurie Anderson. It’s a YA novel that I feel that teenage girls should read. All girls should read it – regardless of their age.

    In a country that has it written in the Constitution to allow for freedom of speech… I think banning books is stupid. I understand that some adult subject matter should probably not be in children’s books or in elementary school libraries, but I think that fiction is often a good way to illustrate concepts and events to people.

    Parents should be the ones monitoring what their kids are reading – not necessarily what is not available in the library.

    I noticed that one of the books mentioned is about sex education. In this day and age… I don’t think there is enough for kids.


  2. Maria
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 10:49 am

    I think once you start telling people what they can and can’t do you’re treading on thin ice. Who gets to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t.


  3. flip58
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 11:07 am

    I do not support banning books. Parents need to be responsible for what their children read and watch. After years of trying to get my son to read more, I found the Cirque du freak series by Darren Shin. My son loved it and he could not read the series fast enough. Now he reads Stephen King. Recently, a parent complained to the local bookstore about the book. It was not appropriate. While the parent had every right to limit her child’s choices, she should not expect the bookstore to remove it from the shelves.

    Likewise, I belong to several political and issue oriented groups. One of my pet peeves is when the groups do not approve content of a tv or radio show and want everyone to demand the removal of the writer or speaker. This is not appropriate in my mind. I might think Rush Limbaugh is a big fat liar, but I will not sign a petition to remove him from the radio.


  4. KeiraSoleore
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 11:17 am

    Maria and SarahKates, I agree with you one hundred thousand percent. Not simply saying “no,” but in fact removing the “choice” for them to say “yes” or “no” takes away one of our funadmental civil rights.

    The rise in abstinence “education” means that sex education books are getting short shrift, because you see sex education promotes sex. (eye roll)

    I’m re-reading “Mockingbird” in preparation for the new movie.


  5. ViviAnna
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 12:05 pm

    There are no cases for banned books. Censorship is censhorship. If it’s the children people are worried about then it’s up the parents to monitor what their children are reading. Children rearing is a parent’s responsibility not a society’s.


  6. KeiraSoleore
    on Oct 3rd, 2007
    @ 5:45 pm

    Flip and Vivi, parents think it’s the society responsibility to raise their children, not vice versa. And all that energy they spend censoring everyone else’s reading could be better spent in teaching their own children to read and to appreciate the written word in all its forms.


  7. Ghost Ringtone
    on May 5th, 2008
    @ 2:57 pm

    Ghost Ringtone…

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