Banned Books Week
Since we are coming to the close of Banned Books Week, I thought I would address where I stand on the whole subject. I am always amazed by the most frequently banned books throughout the United States. The following is a top ten list of the most frequently challenged books from 2014.
+1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2) Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6) Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
+*7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
*8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9) A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10) Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit
+Books that are part of English curriculum in schools I’ve worked at.
*Books that I’ve read.
This list is taken from the American Library Association’s Banned Books site.
While I haven’t read many of the books on this list, I am amazed that people are still trying to ban books like Tango Makes Three and The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. These are books that can teach us about the people around us, what their lives are like, can potentially give us insight into who people are, and can make us more open-minded as readers. It saddens me that people would try to take away the opportunity to read such books.
There are many other books that have been banned or challenged that I have read, especially in the YA realm, such as, the Harry Potter series, The Chocolate War, Of Mice and Men, Blood and Chocolate, A Wrinkle in Time, and the Goosebumps series. It’s frustrating to me that so many wonderfully beautiful stories are being pulled from libraries simply because people disagree with what these stories have to say.
I think what hurts the most is that children and adolescents are missing out on characters that they can relate to and that can help them get through certain experiences or years in their lives that can be difficult. Sometimes, there are times in which it is hard to relate to other people and the only thing you can relate to are characters in a book.
What banned/challenged books do you love and really want everyone to have the opportunity to connect with?