Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Banned Book Week

The American Library Association has declared this week, September 27–October 4 2008, as National Banned Book Week. In honor of that and my aunt and sister-in-law who are librarians, here is a list compiled by the American Library Association of the "10 Most Challenged Books of 2007" along with the reasons given for why some people thought they should not be read.

1) "And Tango Makes Three," by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War," by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) "Olive's Ocean," by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) "The Golden Compass," by Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Religious Viewpoint

5) "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn," by Mark Twain
Reasons:  Racism

6) "The Color Purple," by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL," by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings," by Maya Angelou
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit

9) "It's Perfectly Normal," by Robie Harris
Reasons:  Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

My personal choice for the greatest book ever written is number 5 on the list, "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn." My brothers and I still fondly remember my father reading it to us when we were little. We did not realize at the time what a subversive act that would later appear to be, in today's political climate. (My father also read to us from "Gulliver's Travels," which must only have escaped the book banner's attention by some oversight. It also is an extremely subversive book, full of ideas that some people would think were especially unsuitable for children.)

Defy the book banners by reading one of these books this week. If there is a child in your life who has not yet begun to read on her/his own then emulate my father and read it to her/him.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

Thanks David for the fine blog. Those who ban books work to deny others the right to think. What a fearful and perhaps terrifying world these book banners must be trapped in...afraid of words and ideas.

As a teacher I'd like to encourage adults to read to children no matter how great the child's own reading skills may be. Being read to is a wonderful experience and different from the experience children enjoy reading to themselves.