Monday, September 23, 2013

Be a book rebel read banned books!

Banning books is not a thing of the past. Every day books are challenged, or removed from libraries or schools. No book is safe from the possibility. At one point the children’s fairytale, Alice in Wonderland was on the banned list.

For a while, my own county libraries banned the 50 Shades of Grey Trilogy from their shelves. Library patrons wouldn’t hear of it, they continued to request, and demand their right to read about Christian and his red room. Now the books are available on library shelves and ereaders.

What would the world be like if readers didn’t rebel and just let someone choose what books were suitable for the public. What if the words of To Kill a Mockingbird, Shakespeare’s Sonnets, or even Harry Potter had never touched our lives?

If there weren’t book rebels we wouldn’t have seen Vivian Lee as Scarlet O’Hara in her curtain dress. Get to be frightened of  saint bernards named Cujo, or see Leonardo DiCaprio become Gatsby. The stories these memorable characters all came from books that were challenged or banned at some point.

What’s the difference between banned or challenged books? According to the ALA a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of challenged materials from public or school libraries, possibly bookstore shelves.

Books could be challenged for various reasons. The top three are explicit sexual content, offensive language, or ‘unsuited’ to any age group. The last meaning any theme or topic deemed unsuitable for viewing. Books that fell into this category were The Hunger Games, The Catcher in the Rye, and Blood and Chocolate. Thanks to awesome librarians, teachers, students, and concerned citizens most challenges are unsuccessful.

What makes the list from year to year can be surprising. Tomes of every genre and age range can be found there. Chances are you’ve got a few of them on your bookshelf or to be read pile already. You can find out more on ALA or Band Books Week websites. To see this years list go to Books Challenged or Banned  2012-2013.

Don’t let someone tell you your books are ‘unsuited’. Be a book rebel read some banned books this week.

This week I’m reading Blood and Chocolate and my son is reading The Hunger Games We’re book rebels, how about you? What are you reading? Do you have a favorite banned book?

1 comment:

Emily Jean Roche said...

I agree that books shouldn't be banned from public libraries. People have the right to choose what they read. However, I would have a problem if 50 Shades of Gray found it's way to my elementary school library's shelves. *cringes*

Accessibility of information is extremely important, but we also have to consider age level of the readers. Everyone's line of appropriateness is different. For example, I think banning Captain Underpants is just silly, but other parents might disagree. Do we simply trust our librarian's judgement, or should parents have some say over what their kids are exposed to and when?