Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Have you hugged your banned book yet today?

This week is National Banned Book Week. I spent some time at The Book Store tonight putting together a display. I learned a lot. Aside from the obvious government bannings in the early century it seems that there are a lot of books out there that have complaints (or challenges) filed against them . Book 'em Dan-O! (Pun intended...just wanted to hear you all groan.)

Are you There God it's Me Margaret by Judy Blume being one. (Side story here. I had a male customer bring his young daughter in to buy this book the other day. He said he read it and loved it and felt she HAD to read it. Go Dad!) And who could forget everyone's favorite boy wizard? I feel as though these are fairly innocuous books. I read many of them as a child and student. It seems that some parents out there are compelled to file complaints against them for filling their children's minds with swear words, sex talk, and (horror of all horrors) stories of deviant behaviors. They're asking that these books be removed from bookstores and libraries. These books are the least of their worries! They certainly don't force themselves into the hands of the innocent. Some may brooch subjects that are difficult and should be exposed at the right time for the child. But to say that no person should be able to read it ever?! Especially books that are innocent - The Giver, Harry Potter Series(#7 most challenged books), Daddy's Roommate(#2 most challenged book), and Where's Waldo?! I don't care what you say, these are books are not corrupting our youth.

I'm guessing the fear is that letting kids and "young adults" (really, what is a young adult? I'm 28 and I would argue that I'M a young adult) read a few challenged books would raise a generation of tolerant, swearing, and sex-loving deviants? Hmmm, I've read at least a third of the
100. Shit, I'm going to go seduce my husband and then tomorrow I may even call my gay friend to see if they want to pick up a copy of Where's Waldo instead of going to work. Is that so freakin' wrong?!
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused about most of these challenged/banned books. The ones I'm REALLY scratching my head over (those of which I've read):

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Witches by Roald Dahl
Blubber by Judy Blume
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
What’s Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

These are so innocuous; I can't think of a single reason why anyone would challenge them. Really!

I wonder if this is again an example of the knowledge gap between what parents think their children and adolescents know and are interested in/exploring versus what children and adolescents really do know. I remember knowing a lot more than my parents thought I did - not from experience, but because of my peers and because of my own research.

This is natural, and part of growing up.

~ E

9/29/2004 8:15 AM  
Blogger Bookish Wendy said...

Thanks a great point Erin. What is equally surprising is the adult literature on that list - The Color Purple being one (I'm assuming the lesbian sex is the trigger there.) I can't even get started on that rant...

9/29/2004 8:44 AM  

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