Monday, September 23, 2013

Challenged Books

Banned Book Week

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   It's incredibly surprising how many great books are on the 100 Most Challenged Books list. I'm currently unacquainted with the first two titles on this list, but there are many there that my high school class was encouraged to read. First, what are "banned" or "challenged" books and why are they treated so by some?
   I personally learned about Banned Book Week from Cabin Goddess' blog. I didn't know there was such a thing as a week to raise awareness about censorship concerning books until this week when I got the weekly email about Ms. Morton's blog and her new posts. When learning, I was inspired to create this special post to help raise awareness. 
   There is a lot of information regarding this topic out there: I encourage you to learn what a banned or challenged book is at this link. Also at that link, you can find the following quote from John Stuart Mill, as he wrote in On Liberty, and additional information. 
If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind. Were an opinion a personal possession of no value except to the owner; if to be obstructed in the enjoyment of it were simply a private injury, it would make some difference whether the injury was inflicted only on a few persons or on many. But the peculiar evil of silencing the expression of an opinion is, that it is robbing the human race; posterity as well as the existing generation; those who dissent from the opinion, still more than those who hold it. If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth: if wrong, they lose, what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer perception and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.
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For the Love of Books
    Now, do not take this the wrong way. I am NOT saying that children ages ten and under should be allowed to read erotica. There's no reason anything like erotica should be within the grasp of an 8-year-old child -- I'm sure everyone reading this agrees -- unless that child is a 40-year-old man trapped in a child's body, which is highly unlikely.
   What I AM saying with this post is: Phillip Pullman's books should not
be banned from elementary school libraries because of the religious implications he sometimes includes in his works, Lois Lowry's The Giver should not be taken out of children's libraries, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer should not be withheld from inquisitive growing children. Stories about growing children shouldn't be banned or taken from children looking to read about other children's adventures, no matter what time frame in which the story takes place and no matter what fictional creations exist in the story. Some diversity in thought and experience is needed for growing children to learn, and some people or groups of people sometimes try to move the line that shouldn't be crossed to where it shouldn't really be. 

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Check out some of these other titles that are on the banned/challenged lists: 

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain, for racism et cetera (see the link)
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson, for numerous things (see the link)
Goosbumps by R.L. Stine, for being too frightening and depicting occult/satanic themes
The Witches by Roald Dahl, for violence and sexism
A Wrinkly in Time by Madeleine L'Engle, for challenging religious beliefs
The Stupids by Harry Allard, for promoting negative behavior
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry, for references to adult things such as beer, Playboy, and suicide
Blubber by Judy Blume, for bullying
Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam, for misconceptions/scary themes
Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, for the attempted rape of the main character
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, for racism and offensive language
Harry Potter by JK Rowling, for promoting Wicca/witchcraft
Cujo, as well as others, by Stephen King
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl, for macabre and frightening content
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, for addressing religious and pre-teen issues
Lord of the Flies by William Golding, for addressing controversial issues
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney
Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman, for religious implications and violence
Captain Underpants by Dav Pikey, for encouraging children to disobey authority
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, for violence and the portrayal of Christians
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park, for bad social values and the main character being a bad role model
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, for violence and religious viewpoint

For complete lists, visit the below links: 
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Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 

Frequently Challenged Books of the 21st Century (by Year) 

Banned and Challenged Classics 

Wiki list of banned books by governments -- some may surprise you.

Get involved:
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   Now, to the now: This is Banned Books Week. Read a banned or challenged book. Tweet about it with hashtags #bannedbooksweek and #bannedbookparty (10am-12pm Wednesday).  Follow the tweets of the Office for Intellectual Freedom of the American Library Association @OIF, @KidsRight2Read, the American Booksellers' Foundation for Free Expression @freadom, and the Freedom to Read Foundation @FTRF on Twitter and retweet accordingly.
   Check out to learn about what events might be happening near you and to participate in a Youtube Virtual Read-Out.
   Also, Google search: banned books week, banned books blog hop, banned books blogs, et cetera for giveaways, blogs, and more!

And lastly...
   Now you know where I stand on the issue. What are your thoughts? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think, and what books you have on your shelf that are challenged or banned. 

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