*Note, while I will try to avoid major spoilers, I sometimes won't be able to help it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Banned Books Week

"A word to the unwise.
Torch every book.
Char every page.
Burn every word to ash.
Ideas are incombustible.

And therein lies your real fear."

Banned Books Week is taking place September 24 - October 1, 2011. For those of you not in the know, Banned Books Week, an American Library Association event, celebrates your right to read. More information on the laws and First Amendment can be found on ALA’s website.

I love Banned Books Week. I feel very strongly that is up to a child’s parent or guardian (not their teachers, librarians, or friends’ parents) to monitor what they read and the make the decision if a particular book is appropriate. In my opinion a second grader is likely not ready to read Judy Blume’s (the queen of the banned book) Forever, but that doesn’t give me the right to tell someone else that their child can’t read it. Following that logic, I feel that no one else has the right to tell me I cannot read something. It seems like this should be a reasonable solution; take care of yourself and your children but don’t force your beliefs on anyone else. However, every year the content of books is questioned and sometimes access to those books is limited or revoked. As someone who was never once denied the right to read (with the exception of teachers who told me to stop reading and do my class assignment-a fairly common occurrence) I strongly feel that everyone should have the option to read what they want, when they want (my only exception is that parents also should be parents and be aware of what their children are reading, but that’s another rant completely).

Every year I go through the list of most challenged books and find that I have usually two or three of them (at least!) and often find myself confused. It seems that the majority of the banners haven’t even skimmed the book in question and make their accusations based on the description on the back of the book. Yes, there may be questionable content in the book, but notice that the character usually learns something by the end it? And if not the character, the reader certainly should have come away a better person by reading of a character’s struggle. Sometimes I read about the reason a book was challenged and have to re-read a book, because I don’t that reason being mentioned in the book. Again, this is why I feel parents should be involved with what their children read. Let’s say your child wants to read Ellen Hopkins’ Crank. Take the time to talk with your child about the content of the book. Make sure they are aware that the book is not glorifying drug use and that they see how Kristina’s life spirals out of control due to her decisions. Answer any questions they may have. Build a better bond with your child because you’ve opened up communication. And, please don’t discourage your child from reading!

So that’s how I stand. Basically, I want everyone to read. Books, magazines, instruction manuals- just read something! And if you don’t like something in a book, you always have the option to stop and read something else.

I don’t make it a point to read a book because it is banned, but it turns out that quite a few of the books I’ve read (and enjoyed!) have been challenged or banned. Below is a list of such books that are listed in Banned Books: Chalenging Our Freedom to Read by Robert P. Doyle (2010 by American Library Association).

Abel's Island by William Steig
A Child Called It by Dave Pelzer
A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
A Separate Peace by John Knowles
Abel's Island by William Steig
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Anastasia Again by Lois Lowry
Anastasia at Your Service by Lois Lowry
Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Are You There God? It's Me Margaret by Judy Blume
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
Deenie by Judy Blume
Doctor Doolittle by Hugh John Lofting
Don't You Dare Read This Mrs. Dunphrey by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
Forever by Judy Blume
Forever in Pants by Anne Brashares
Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
Harriet the Spy by Loise Fitzhugh
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
Here's to You Rachel Robinson by Judy Blume
It's Not the End of the World by Judy Blume
Jay's Journal by Beatrice Sparks
L8R G8TR by Lauren Myracle
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Marvin Redpost: Is He a Girl by Louis Sachar
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Mississippi Bridge by Mildred D. Taylor
My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult
New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
Nightjohn by Gary Paulsen
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
One of those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies by Sonya Sones
Otherwise Known as Shelia the Great by Judy Blume
Red Sky at Morning by Richard Bradford
Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
Romitette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper and Adam Lowenbein
Ryan White: My Own Story by Ryan White and Ann Marie Cunningham
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Superfudge by Judy Blume
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
The Crucible by Arthur Miller
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things by Caroline Mackler
The Egypt Game by Zalpha Keatley Snyder
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Headless Cupid by Zalpha Keatley Snyder
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher
The Long Secret by Louise Fitzhugh
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
The Notebook Girls: Four Friends, One Diary, Real Life by Julia Baskin, Lindsey Newman, Sophie Pollit-Cohn and Courtney Toombs
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
The Red Pony by John Steinbeck
The Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss
Then Again, Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume
There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
TTFN by Lauren Myracle
TTYL by Lauren Myracle
Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones
Where the Heart is by Billie Letts
Where's Waldo by Martin Handford

How many have you read?

Judy Blume & Lauren Myracle help launch Banned Books Week Virtual Read-Out!

Lauren Myracle was 2009’s most
challenged author. She has written
many novels including the TTYL
series, Kissing Kate and Shine.

Ellen Hopkins is the brilliant author 
of CrankTricks, the newly released 
Perfect amongst other YA novels. In
 2010, Crank was #4 on ALA’s list of 
Top Ten Challenged Books. Due to the
 content of her books, Hopkins was 
uninvited to the Humble ISD
 Libraries’ Teen Lit Festival.


  1. Why is that you get all the trolls? I want some blogger drama!

  2. I'm sorry :-( I'll tell people to go to www.outofthevoidproductions.blogspot.com and complain about you.


    Team Void Zone!!!

  3. Yes! Thank you! I need trolls and conflict! Nick's and my constant disagreements aren't enough.


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