Monday, October 5, 2009

More on Banned Books

“Don't think you are going to conceal thoughts by concealing evidence that they ever existed." - Dwight D. Eisenhower

Though Banned Books Week ended on the 3rd, I thought it was never too late to talk about the subject. My sentiments from last year’s post haven’t changed. It’s still distressing to me to know there are groups and individuals who want to censor our reading material. It seems so easy and logical that if a book’s topic offends you, read something else, much like switching channels on TV. If you don’t want your children to read certain books, monitor them, not everyone else.

This year’s most challenged titles according to bannedbooksweek.com are:

And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
The age group is preschool to 3rd grade and the book is based on a true story about a charming penguin family living in New York City's Central Park Zoo.

His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
The age group on this fantasy series is 13 and older.

TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
These are four grades 10 and up and I saw a review that mentioned TTYL is also a good choice for adults who want to know what's happening in teenagers' lives.

Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
This series is for 9 to 12 year olds. Who didn’t like sitting around at that age seeing who could scare who the most?

Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence I’m not sure what age this is intended for but it sounds to me like it’s been around since 1973 and that it is an interesting story written from a Hispanic prospective.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
It sounds to me that this was written for the Young Adult audience who probably knows more about each of the topics mentioned than I ever will.

Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group (Same comment as The Perks of Being a Wallflower)

Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
This is geared toward kids from four to eight and guinea pigs dressed in humans are the characters.

The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
I thought this was an adult book so I’m not sure what age group they’re talking about, but I thought it was beautifully written, entertaining, and illuminating.

Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group
This is for ages from nine to twelve.

I’m for letting children read whatever interests them as long as they feel free to ask questions and talk about what they read. To me, the above books provide the perfect platform for parents to sit down with their kids to have discussions about the various issues each book addresses. You simply cannot keep kids from discovering the facts of life.

However, if you are against your children reading certain material, that’s fine, too. I’m not about to tell anyone how to parent. You are perfectly free to censor what goes into your home but please don’t try to limit the books I can bring into mine.

In closing, I couldn’t put it better than this quote from bannedbooksweek.com website: “Exercise Your First Amendment Rights - Read a Banned Book!”

Thanks for stopping by.

Tags: Eisenhower, banned books, And Tango Makes Three, The Kite Runner,

16 comments:

thetruebookaddict said...

Hi Jane, Great post! I too am very passionate about BBW! I did an entire week's worth of posts featuring banned/challenged favorites in different genres, etc. Hope you'll stop by and check them out!

Happy Autumn, btw =o)

Michelle

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Wouldn't it be novel is parents simply got involved in their children's lives?

Helen Ginger said...

I agree with you, Jane. If you're not willing to read a book so you can discuss it with your child or you read the book and decide it's not something you want your child to read, then ban it from your home, but don't ban it from mine. Trust me, you kid will be reading those kinds of books when s/he gets in college.

Helen
Straight From Hel

Marvin D Wilson said...

I'm a forbidden fruit kind of guy. Tell ME it's banned and dangerous? I want more than EVER to read it.

The Old Silly

Carol Kilgore said...

I couldn't agree more, Jane. Wonderful post. I'm also a lot like Marvin. The surest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can't.

Galen Kindley--Author said...

This topic is close to my heart. My second book received a rejection, because the heroine, an abused wife, fell in love with and, gasp, had an affair with another man while she was extracting herself from her broken and abusive marriage. The editor said, and I quote, “…your heroine commits adultery. Yes, there are reasons and in real life that would probably happen. But (XYZ Publisher) deals with fiction, and I don't believe our readers can become invested in a heroine that commits adultery, no matter the reasons."

Okay. I guess that’s fair. This publisher didn’t want a certain moral standard violated. I agree that there’s probably some things are not worth reading but, to address that, I simply don’t read ‘em. In the end, he’s making choices for readers.

Oh, as a sweet last note?? That publisher went out of business. Snort. Yes, I realize it’s not nice to gloat. I’m just reporting the facts, that’s all. Yuck, yuck.


Best Regards, Galen

Imagineering Fiction Blog

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I couldn't agree more. Read what you like, let whatever books you wish come into your home. Allow me the same freedom.

Elspeth

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Michelle - Your passion shows in the blogs - I've read a couple and plan to get back soon to read a few more.

I so agree, Diane. It seems so simple and would do so much good if parents stayed involved in their children's lives.

True, Helen. It would be nice if parents would help prepare their kids for the adult world.

Marvin and Carol, I think the same way you do and I bet 99% of kids feel the same way.

Galen - that's crazy. I wonder why it always seems okay for husbands to have affairs in novels but the same doesn't apply to wives? I can understand why that publisher is no longer in business. He should have realized that women buy the most books and most of us would sympathize with the heroine in your novel.

Elspeth, I've always wondered why some people insist on telling others how they should live.

Krista said...

Wow, I can't believe Philip Pullman's books were even on this list. By those standards, the Chronicles of Narnia would have been at the top of the list! (Or maybe they have been...?)
I think it's fine to provide information about the content of books to help with the decisions, but agree with all of you that the decision has to belong to the parents.

Krista said...

Wow, I can't believe Philip Pullman's books were even on this list. By those standards, the Chronicles of Narnia would have been at the top of the list! (Or maybe they have been...?)
I think it's fine to provide information about the content of books to help with the decisions, but agree with all of you that the decision has to belong to the parents.

Krista said...

Wow, I can't believe Philip Pullman's books were even on this list. By those standards, the Chronicles of Narnia would have been at the top of the list! (Or maybe they have been...?)
I think it's fine to provide information about the content of books to help with the decisions, but agree with all of you that the decision has to belong to the parents.

Krista said...

Wow, I can't believe Philip Pullman's books were even on this list. By those standards, the Chronicles of Narnia would have been at the top of the list! (Or maybe they have been...?)
I think it's fine to provide information about the content of books to help with the decisions, but agree with all of you that the decision has to belong to the parents.

Morgan Mandel said...

I think it's hard to decide what kids can read. Adults are a different story, since they should have free will to choose. Children are at the mercy of adults, so those who have the power to decide should be careful,just as with movies and TV shows.

Since I don't know any of the books mentioned, I don't feel I'm in a postiion to pass judgment on them.

Morgan Mandel
http://morganmandel.blogspot.com
http://www.morganmandel.com

Linda Austin said...

I think elementary and middle schools ought to be a little careful, esp with YA. Often the books remain in the classroom so parents won't know what their youngsters are reading unless they ask for a daily list or demand parental permission before reading, and what a shame if you can't trust the school and feel a need to do that.

Stephen Tremp said...

I still struggle with the public school system trying to teach prepupsence children about sex, homosexuality, and all. What ever happened to the three Rs and why are we lagging well behind third world nations in these areas.

I agree with Diane, parents need to get involved with their children's lives.

Stephen Tremp

Christina E. Rodriguez said...

Now why is it books by celebrities are never banned? I know anything written by Paris Hilton is dangerous to my health and well-being...

Jane's Ride - Novelist Jane Kennedy Sutton's journey through the ups and downs of the writing, publishing and marketing world