Daily Archives: September 29, 2010

Banned Books Week…

Every year I tell myself that I’ll do something interesting, something meaningful, something special to mark the passing of a week which is 50% anger and 50% amusement for me. On the one hand, people are idiots, banning books because they don’t like them. On the other hand, people are hilarious, thinking that anyone else will listen to them.

So I’d like to take just a brief moment to mention that banned books week is upon us. The top 10 most challenged books of 2009 were:

1. ttyl, ttfn, l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs

2. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: Homosexuality

3. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Anti-Family, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide

4. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: Racism, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

5. Twilight (series) by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

6. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

7. My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult
Reasons: Sexism, Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group, Drugs, Suicide, Violence

8. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

9. The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

10. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Nudity, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

Have any of you read these? Are you going to read any of them now that you know they’re on this list?

I’m going to be picking up at least a few of these– most notably the ones I have not yet read. (I will not read The Color Purple again. Once was enough.)

I’ll say what I’ve said so many times before, in so many places: We need to allow children the freedom to read. We need to allow teens the freedom to read. We need to allow adults the freedom to read. And if that means that we’re allowing them to read books that say “thong” or that talk about more than kissing, then that’s what it means. Because really, kids know about sex, and as long as the books aren’t giving them some warped, abusive, violent representation of it (without good cause), then why shouldn’t we let them read it?

Also, we need to let children set their own curve. When I was 8, I was ready for some more grown up books than could be found in the children’s section. This does not mean that all 8 year-olds are ready, and it does not mean that no other 8-year olds are. It means that children mature in different ways at different speeds.

To round out the post, some sources:

ALA: Banned Books Week, Sept 25-Oct 2

ALA: Top 100 banned/challenged books 2000-2009

Robin McKinley on Banned Books Week

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