Hello Fellow Reader,
Everyone has their favorite holiday. Some start the countdown to Christmas mid-summer and some love Thanksgiving or the 4th of July.
I like Banned Books week. I know, it is an odd thing to look forward to but I do look forward to it. I see it as a celebration of freedom. For the most part, books that are challenged are not banned and I think this is a good thing. It means that in this country, we are free to read and publish books even if some find them objectionable.
There are books that I have not liked as there are movies that I found offensive. I know that my standards are not universal. I do not have the same taste as others and my religious background may not be the same. There is one book that comes to my mind each year duringBanned Books Week. I found the book repugnant but I do not think that my opinion should stop others from reading it. The book made the New York Times bestseller list and was made into a movie so it must have had some popular appeal.
I don’t know about you but I am not willing to give the ability to ban books to anyone. I do not trust anyone to decide what subject matters are not “appropriate” for me. Everyone has their own issues and what is not appealing for some reason to one person may not be a problem for another. I also think that many times when there are objections over books in schools, that a passage is taken out of context. An adult will often want to protect the youth from what they perceive to be a bad influence when the youth does not have the background or knowledge to view the book in the same way.
When you look at the list of books that have been challenged over the years, I think many would find it surprising. The Harry Potter books, the Bible, The Hungar Games, 50 Shades of Grey and The Bluest Eye have all been challenged. The Captain Underpants series has made the list several times. Another book that has been made into a recent movie, The Glass Castle, has made the list.
One of the books that has been challenged four out of the last five years is John Green’s Looking for Alaska. He is also the author of the book, The Fault in Our Stars, which was very popular and was made into a movie. You might be interested to hear what he has to say about attempts to ban his book.
If you would like to see the “Top Ten” lists for the last 17+ years, the list can be found at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/frequentlychallengedbooks/top10
In honor of Banned Books Week, maybe you should take a look at one of this year’s books and see what you think. I would love to hear your opinion.
Top Ten for 2016
Out of 323 challenges recorded by the Office for Intellectual Freedom
- This One Summer written by Mariko Tamaki and illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, drug use and profanity, and it was considered sexually explicit with mature themes
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
- George written by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged because it includes a transgender child, and the “sexuality was not appropriate at elementary levels”
- I Am Jazz written by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings, and illustrated by Shelagh McNicholas
Reasons: challenged because it portrays a transgender child and because of language, sex education, and offensive viewpoints
- Two Boys Kissing written by David Levithan
Reasons: challenged because its cover has an image of two boys kissing, and it was considered to include sexually explicit LGBT content
- Looking for Alaska written by John Green
Reasons: challenged for a sexually explicit scene that may lead a student to “sexual experimentation”
- Big Hard Sex Criminals written by Matt Fraction and illustrated by Chip Zdarsky
Reason: challenged because it was considered sexually explicit
- Make Something Up: Stories You Can’t Unread written by Chuck Palahniuk
Reasons: challenged for profanity, sexual explicitness, and being “disgusting and all around offensive”
- Little Bill (series) written by Bill Cosby and and illustrated by Varnette P. Honeywood
Reason: challenged because of criminal sexual allegations against the author
- Eleanor & Park written by Rainbow Rowell
Reason: challenged for offensive language
Thanks for reading.