Saturday, November 22, 2008

Banned Books...

One of my goals this year has been to read a new book a month. And while I still have to figure out if I'm going to meet that goal yet or not (have to look at what books I've read this year, maybe with knitting books I have met it) I have at least read more new to me books than I had in previous years. I had slipped into a habit of rereading books that had a good plot to them but that I didn't have to think much about starting with nursing school and into my first years working.

Now that I am reading new to me books I'm starting with books on my shelves and on of them is Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

Part of the reason that I picked up that book for this month is that at the beginning of October I was looking at the banned book list for banned book week and it is on the list in many places. While I'm just getting into the book and haven't gotten to the questionable parts, I've read the reasons for this book being banned and while I don't agree with banning books at all, I understand why some would be wary of it. (And let me stress now, there is a huge difference between banning a book from all and making it available when appropriate to people.)

I really want to read many more books on this list especially since I have an affair with reading books that cause controversy anyway. Controversy is why I first picked up Harry Potter and got sucked into that series, it's why I read The Da Vinci Code and it's prequel Angels and Demons.

I really remember the first book that I read a book just because it was causing controversy - A Day No Pigs Would Die - a mother wanted it banned from the middle schools in the district I went to and that was all it took for me to pick it up and read it. I would not have read the book otherwise because I managed to not be in a reading class that was requiring it. This just emphasizes that I think that challenging and subsequently banning books is a wonderful way to get kids to read.

And then there are just some books that are banned that I have to wonder about. Such as there are instances of the Where's Waldo books being banned in some schools. The people who have done that claim that there is a topless beach-goer in one of the searches but I don't know the truth to that.

One book that I need to take the time to find and I'm sad to say that I haven't done so yet is And Tango Makes Three. It's a children's book - aimed for preschoolers and beginning readers. What makes it controversial is that it is about two male penguins in a zoo who adopt a hatchling penguin. From what I understand it's based on a true story. I desire to read this so much because the people who ask for it to be banned claim that it encourages homosexuality.

I think people have way to much time on their hands... seriously.

Here I give you the ALA's Most Challenged book list for the years 2000-2007. I'm going to italicize the one's I've read. The remaining go on my book list for next year!

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books in 2000-2007

1 Harry Potter J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3 The Chocolate War Robert Cormier
4 Of Mice and Men John Steinbeck
5 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings Maya Angelou (currently reading)
6 Scary Stories Alvin Schwartz
7 Fallen Angels Walter Dean Myers
8 It’s Perfectly Normal Robie Harris
9 And Tango Makes Three Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
10 Captain Underpants Dav Pilkey
11 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain
12 The Bluest Eye Toni Morrison
13 Forever Judy Blume
14 The Color Purple Alice Walker
15 The Perks of Being A Wallflower Stephen Chbosky
16 Killing Mr. Griffin Lois Duncan
17 Go Ask Alice Anonymous
18 King and King Linda de Haan
19 Catcher in the Rye J.D. Salinger
20 Bridge to Terabithia Katherine Paterson
21 The Giver Lois Lowry
22 We All Fall Down Robert Cormier
23 To Kill A Mockingbird Harper Lee`
24 Beloved Toni Morrison
25 The Face on the Milk Carton Caroline Cooney
26 Snow Falling on Cedars David Guterson
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead James Lincoln Collier
28 In the Night Kitchen Maurice Sendak
29 His Dark Materials series Philip Pullman
30 Gossip Girl series Cecily von Ziegesar
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know Sonya Sones
32 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging Louise Rennison
33 It’s So Amazing Robie Harris
34 Arming America Michael Bellasiles
35 Kaffir Boy Mark Mathabane
36 Blubber Judy Blume
37 Brave New World Aldous Huxley
38 Athletic Shorts Chris Crutcher
39 Bless Me, Ultima Rudolfo Anaya
40 Life is Funny E.R. Frank
41 Daughters of Eve Lois Duncan
42 Crazy Lady Jane Leslie Conly
43 The Great Gilly Hopkins Katherine Paterson
44 You Hear Me Betsy Franco
45 Slaughterhouse Five Kurt Vonnegut
46 Whale Talk Chris Crutcher
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby Dav Pilkey
48 The Facts Speak for Themselves Brock Cole
49 The Terrorist Caroline Cooney
50 Mick Harte Was Here Barbara Park
51 Summer of My German Soldier Bette Green
52 The Upstairs Room Johanna Reiss
53 When Dad Killed Mom Julius Lester
54 Blood and Chocolate Annette Curtis Klause
55 The Fighting Ground Avi
56 The Things They Carried Tim O'Brien
57 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry Mildred Taylor
58 Fat Kid Rules the World K.L. Going
59 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things Carolyn Mackler
60 A Time To Kill John Grisham
61 Rainbow Boys Alex Sanchez
62 Olive’s Ocean Kevin Henkes
63 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Ken Kesey
64 A Day No Pigs Would Die Robert Newton Peck
65 Speak Laurie Halse Anderson
66 Always Running Luis Rodriguez
67 Black Boy Richard Wright
68 Julie of the Wolves Jean Craighead George
69 Deal With It! Esther Drill
70 Detour for Emmy Marilyn Reynolds
71 Draw Me A Star Eric Carle
72 Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
73 Harris and Me Gary Paulsen
74 Junie B. Jones series Barbara Park
75 So Far From the Bamboo Grove Yoko Watkins
76 Song of Solomon Toni Morrison
77 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes Chris Crutcher
78 What’s Happening to My Body Book Lynda Madaras
79 The Boy Who Lost His Face Louis Sachar
80 The Lovely Bones Alice Sebold
81 Anastasia Again! Lois Lowry
82 Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret Judy Blume
83 Bumps In the Night Harry Allard
84 Goosebumps series R.L. Stine
85 Shade’s Children Garth Nix
86 Cut Patricia McCormick
87 Grendel John Gardner
88 The House of Spirits Isabel Allende
89 I Saw Esau Iona Opte
90 Ironman Chris Crutcher
91 The Stupids series Harry Allard
92 Taming the Star Runner S.E. Hinton
93 Then Again, Maybe I Won’t Judy Blume
94 Tiger Eyes Judy Blume
95 Like Water for Chocolate Laura Esquivel
96 Nathan’s Run John Gilstrap
97 Pinkerton, Behave! Steven Kellog
98 Freaky Friday Mary Rodgers
99 Halloween ABC Eve Merriam
100 Heather Has Two Mommies Leslea Newman

Many of the books on this list it just makes me sad to see them there. Junie B. Jones, The Face on the Milk Carton, Blubber -I mean really! Others I can understand the challenge but do not like the fact that one person or group will try to dictate what's right for others - let each individual parent decide what's right and wrong for their child. And then there are some that I just feel like shouting that it's not right to protect everyone from everything, you have to realize that there are unpleasant things in this world! Not to mention that one of my top ten favorite books makes the list at number 21.

Looks like my reading list is full, but some of the books will be easy to get through I'm sure.


kipo said...

They had Bridge to Terabithia in school when I was in 5th grade and my aunt REFUSED to let me read with the class. The book apparently had curse words in it and she didn't want me reading it. Not sure if there were any other reasons, that's just the one I was given. One of these days I might read it again, lol. I see A Time To Kill is on that list. I read that in high school and I probably wouldn't let my kids read it until at LEAST high school. The rape in the beginning of the book is very graphic. But to feel the emotion of the story, it really needed to be. Anyway, I haven't read an "adult" book in a very long time. If it's no Dr. Seuss or something along those lines, I don't have time to read it. The girls and I just discovered Skippyjon Jones. I know they're kid books, but they're actually very entertaining. I even found them amusing. It's about a siamese cat who sees himself in a mirror and thinks he's a Chiauhauha, lol. Anyway, sorry to ramble. I understand why some books might be held back from younger readers, but I don't think all out banning them is right either.

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