Banned Books Week

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banned books

Even though the week is ending, I wanted to make sure I did a post on Banned Books Week. I think you’d be surprised at some of the books that make the lists around the country.

Some of the most challenged books of this past year?

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
  2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  3. Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  5. And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
  6. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini.
    Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green.
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
  8. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
  9. The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
  10. Beloved, by Toni Morrison  Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence

 

Looking for Alaska is one of my all time favorite books and I think a great read for teens as well as The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian which I think is an especially important read with the amount of bullying that is going on these days. Also typically showing up on banned book lists are the Harry Potter books, To Kill a Mockingbird  and Lord of the Flies. All books I grew up on (okay…so I was an adult when Potter stuff came out, but still…).

Great literature shouldn’t be kept from enthusiastic readers.  If you feel your child is not mature enough for the content, then hold off on letting them read it, but don’t go about trying to get it banned.  I feel strongly that parents should read what they’re kids are reading (or want to read) and make the decision on whether or not it’s appropriate for their own children, but what gives anyone the right to say what is or isn’t good for someone else’s child?  I was reading Gone with the Wind  and Stephan King books by the time I was in 6th grade (I even dressed as Mammy for Halloween that year!).

Some kids can handle the topics and they *are* important topics for young adults.  If you think, by keeping your kid from reading certain books that you’re sheltering them from bad things in the world, I think you’ll be sad to find out they already know about such things.

Encourage your kids to read and if there are difficult topics, open a discussion with them and remind them that while many of the situations can be happening to people all over the world, it is still a work of fiction. Remind them that things work out the way they do because the author makes it so.

Don’t keep them from amazing, touching, powerful stories because you think they don’t know about sex or violence or other hurtful things going on in the world. Better they learn it through a world of fiction than real life experiences.  Some of these stories could help them learn warning signs and to not be so naive when they get into the real world. Banning them would be doing a disservice to many.

What are your thoughts on banning books? Does it serve a purpose or should parents be more involved in what their kids read and ask them to hold off on certain books until they’re older?

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