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Poetry and snark blogger who also has a creative side (who knew?)

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Celebrate Banned Books Week!

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The paper burns, but the words fly away.  ~Akiba ben Joseph

During the last week of September every year, hundreds of libraries and bookstores around the country draw attention to the problem of censorship by mounting displays of challenged books and hosting a variety of events. The 2011 celebration of Banned Books Week will be held from September 24 through October 1. Banned Books Week is the only national celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than 11,000 books have been challenged since 1982. For more information on Banned Books Week, click here

According to the American Library Association, there were 348 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2010, and many more go unreported.

The 10 most challenged titles of 2010 were:

And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, religious viewpoint, sex education, sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
Crank, by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit
The Hunger Games (series), by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, violence, unsuited to age group
Lush, by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, sexually explicit, offensive language, unsuited to age group
What My Mother Doesn't Know, by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint
Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality, sexually explicit
Twilight (series), by Stephenie Meyer
Reasons: sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group


  1. Ah, pass those books over here, would you please? I want to read them all now! ;-)

  2. i amall about reading banned books...

    really like your Red verse on your other blog...can not comment on your other blog due to the issues with embedded commenting on blogger...thought i would see if i could here...

  3. that top one is a children's book, it is a true story that happened in a New York Zoo, my son, who is in highschool seems to be more enlightened than the adults who ban books, he is currently blogging about book reviews for a school project, sure hope he doesn't get banned for it...
    Have a great weekend :)

  4. As far as I can tell, based on a look at many of the examples given at, the "bannings" all involve removal from the school curriculum or school library. THESE BOOKS ARE NOT ACTUALLY BEING BANNED! Almost every kid in America has access to a public library, where the books are not being challenged.

    Parents have every right to monitor what their children are reading, and if a book is required reading for class, they are denied that right. I would probably agree with you that some of the books are unobjectionable. Unless the "political viewpoint" is close to treasonous, for instance, I think it's absurd to ban it. (Obviously, the objection is to the "wrong" political viewpoint, not the mere expression of political viewpoints, or the Declaration of Independence would be out as well.)

    You may think you're opposed to sheltering kids from the wrong ideas, but are you really? Would you have liked books in favor of pedophilia in your daughter's elementary school curriculum (or even library)? What if the teacher read racist or antisemitic books to her third-grade class? Wouldn't you have objected? The real difference of opinion here is over what they should be protected from and until what age.

  5. I agree that parents have the right (and responsibility) to monitor and decide what their children can and can't read, at least up until a certain age. However, I don't think that other parents have the right to decide what my child can and can't read, and removing a book from the school library because of one or even several parents' objections means it is not available to any child at the school. The same goes with the school curriculum. If I have an objection, I can remove my child for that portion if I find it truly objectionable, but my beliefs shouldn't determine the curriculum for the whole school.

  6. But the book IS available to them in the local public library. And I'm not sure what would happen if you decided to take your child out of English class for a month. Would the school let you? Would the state let you?

    You say that your beliefs shouldn't determine the curriculum for the whole school. And that's precisely what the challengers are saying -- that the beliefs of the most liberal, left-wing, permissive parents shouldn't determine the curriculum for the whole school.

  7. yo, read your last 2...three bags full sounds like a fun book...and your poem prior...on the elephant pic was very sweet...and blogger is eating my comments at your place again...

  8. Brian,
    That was weird! It disappeared from the dashboard but I still got it in my email notifications. I have Blogger set to approve all comments before they post, so I get emails too. I was thinking of discontinuing the emails, as they seemed unnecessary, but now I think I'll keep it, as Blogger is so unreliable!


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