Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Banned Books to Add to Your TBR List

by Deb Baker (aka Hannah Reed)

Several years ago, a small (but extremely loud) committee of parents with kids in my local high school began a campaign to ban one particular book in the senior modern lit curriculum. After the first meeting with the school board, it became apparent that this group had an issue with more than just one title. They had a list. A long one. And they wanted more say in the selection process.

I’m a former librarian and book lover, so this group and my group and the school board and the teachers went many rounds. The banners lost. Sort of. Because the book in question hasn’t been part of the curriculum since that semester.

But here’s what happened. Oh…do you want to know the name of the book? It was The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Sure, it has disturbing content. But it tackles issues our kids deal with every day. Nothing they don’t already know about and at some time have to face. I thought the book was powerful.

Anyway, because of the controversy, the book flew off the shelves in all the surrounding bookstores. Everybody read it! We probably helped make the author’s career.

So, I had to chuckle when the newest, latest wanna-bans came out. My TBR list is growing!

Here’s the latest:

On Monday, the American Library Association released its list of the top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2010.

This year's top 10 are:
1. And Tango Makes Three by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson Reasons
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
7. What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
9. Revolutionary Voices, edited by Amy Sonnie
10. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Happy Reading!


Katreader said...

It continues to amaze me that people are still trying to ban A Brave New World-and yet nothing goes on about gratuitous sex and violence. TV, reality TV at that, seems to promote and glamorize teenage pregnancy and more. Barbarians are clubbing baby seals, war and terror continue-yet "let's ban a novel!"

Mardel said...

So ridiculous. I have a couple of these books in our school library. And I have a 6th grader in our class that just bought Crank...I assume his mom knows he has it. Really, it annoys me when a group of anyone tries to affect what every other kid is reading.

Tonya Kappes said...

It also amazes me that peopel try to ban books...My youngest son's class had to read The Hunger Games this year.

Booklady said...

If a parent wants to keep their child from reading a certain book, more power to them, but don't make that decision for me and my child. And of course one of the best way to promote a book is to tell someone that they can't read it.

Mare F said...

This is a topic very dear to me. I agree that if a parent doesn't want their child to read a particular book then that is their decision to make, but one of the wonderful things about living in this country is that no one has the right to tell me what I am able to read. I get frustrated with people who can't step back and look at the big picture, but I suppose it all boils down to the old nut that it takes all kinds. I also feel badly for parents who are sheltering their children to that extent. They will be in the real world someday and no good can come of not preparing them for it. Okay, off of the soap box I hop. LOL

Anonymous said...

Having worked in a library, I suspect you know what my opinion might be about book banning. I'm really curious to see NICKEL AND DIMED on this list. That's a book that's been out for a long time and I can't imagine. Curious.

Leann Sweeney said...

Well I live in a state where the word "slavery" has been removed from the history books. They've inserted some ridiculous phrase. You can imagine the lists of books that some parents think should be banned in the district I worked in for 20 years. And I am sure they are still wasting taxpayer time with their "issues." Grrrr....

Kate @Midnight Book Girl said...

I just don't get it. I'm not that huge a fan of teens (even back when I was a teen) but obviously I give them more credit for being smart then their own parents do. If anything, reading books far beyond my age group when I was a kid kept me from doing a lot of bad behavior. If these book banning parents would just spend their time teaching their children the morals they hope to instill in them, then maybe the threat that a book might corrupt their child so completely would disappear.

signlady217 said...

I definitely have issues about banning books. There are many authors I personally don't care to read, but to tell someone they aren't "allowed" to read something just gets my goat. IMO, it becomes a "where does it end?" type situation, and it doesn't. And how many times in other places has that happened over the centuries?

Debra said...

Nickel and Dimed? I listened to an interview of the author and read the book because I remember being that poor in college,difference being I knew my situation was temporary. Everyone who has never tried to live on a minimum wage salary should read that book.
What strikes me about that list is the number of books boys would like. Many boys are reluctant readers, why make it harder still to get them to read?

Hannah said...

I love your comments! So much agreement that our right to choose what we read isn't jeopardized. Some of these forceful people are just plain scary.

Gayle Carline said...

Well, personally, I'd like to ban Twilight because of the writing... It's a funny thing, this censorship crap. When I hear the topic of book banning and parents wanting to protect their (maybe not so) innocent kiddos, I get all grouchy and want to go out and read everything they want banned. Then when someone self-pubs a book about the joys of child molestation or incest or rape, or murder-is-fun, I think WHOA, let's get THAT off the shelves, RIGHT NOW.

How do we set rules we can live with?

Aurian said...

I can't imagine book bans. And why would they ban Twilight? It was one of the books every young person had to read, or watch the movie etcetera, and it is years old by now. (Personally didn't like the book much, but that is not important).

Ann Summerville said...

Darn, I don't think any of my novels will make the banned list. Cozy mysteries aren't usually controversial. Maybe they'll fly off the shelves on their own.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks for getting the word out, Deb! Every dictatorship seems to ban books which should be a clue to those of us who cherish democracy.

ev said...

No, not every young person had to read it, some actually realized what drivel it was. And she still walks thru a crown at Dragon*con proudly sporting her "And then Buffy staked Edward. The End." shirt. A crowd of Twilight fanlets.

Why do parents go on about banning books such as the ones on the list but don't mention the self-pub ones as described above? Is it because they don't think their innocent little angels would even think to go wandering the internet and finding crap like that?

Priorities are definitely screwed up. I'm so glad my parents encouraged me to read anything I felt like reading and asking questions if I didn't understand it and then, OMG, they answered them! Can you imagine??

Lauren said...

How could parents not expect that to happen? I'm an adult and I still want to do things just because they're considered 'bad'.

Lauren from ChickAdvisor

Terri P said...

I agree with Debra. Nickel and Dimed? Everyone should read that book. Especially those people who actually think people CAN lvie on a minimum wage job!