Friday, September 28, 2007

Banned Books Week starts today!

Yes, that's right it's Banned Books Week!

The American Library Association [ALA] host this week to ensure the public is aware that books are being taken off school and public library shelves at the behest of one person or group. Not all books that are challenged are banned or restricted, but yes, it does happen where a book will be taken out of a collection, never to be returned again.

Most books challenged are to protect children. Before I go any further, the ALA states: “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” No matter how busy a parent is, it is for them to monitor the books their kids are reading, not deny others the use of a book.

So what type of books are we talking about? That’s what I’ll share with you this week - a taste of what some communities are having problems with. Today, I’ll give you the books challenged, restricted, removed, or banned in 2006-07. It is not a complete list because about 85% of challenged library materials receive no media attention and are therefore unreported. I have included entries [exactly as reported] for a few of them so you can see some of the reasoning behind the challenges. These and more can all be found in "Banned Books" by Robert P. Doyle. They are:-

Alvarez, Julie. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents.
Ancona, George. Cuban Kids.
Angelou, Maya. I Know Why a Caged Bird Sings.
Atwood, Margaret. The Handmaid’s Tale.

Baskin, Julia, Lindsey Newman, Sophia Politt-Cohen, and Courtney Toombs. The Notebook Girls. Warner Bks. Challenged, but retained at the Cape May County, NJ Library (2006). The book is comprised of the entries four New York City high-school students made in a shared journal in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Bechdel, Alison. Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic.
Birdseye, Tom. Attack of the Mutant Underwear.
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451.
Bradbury, Ray. The Veldt.
Brown, Dan. The Da Vinci Code.
Burroughs, Augusten. Running With Scissors.
Chbosky, Stephen. The Perks of Being a Wallflower.
Chevalier, Tracey. Girl With a Pearl Earring.
Chomsky, Noam, and Edward S. Herman. Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media.
Chopin, Kate. The Awakening.

Christensen, James C., Renwick St. James and Alan Dean Foster. Voyage of the Basset. Artisan. Retained in the Davis County, Utah Library (2006). The complainant objected to the book after her five-year-old son borrowed it from the children’s section and showed her the illustrations it contains of topless mermaids and other partially clothes mythical creatures. The author is a retired Brigham Young University Art professor and cochair of the Mormon Arts Foundation.

Cormier, Robert. The Chocolate Wars.
Crutcher, Chris. Whale Talk.
de Haan, Linda and Stern Nijland. King & King.
Draper, Sharon M., and Adam Lowenbein. Romlette and Julio.
Eleveld, Mark, ed. The Spoken Word Revolution: Slam, Hip Hop & the Poetry of a New Generation.
Fogelin, Adrian. My Brother’s Hero.
Frank, E.R. America.
Freedom Writers. The Freedom Writers Diary: How a Teacher and 150 Teens Used Writing to Change Themselves and the World Around Them.
Gaines, Ernest J. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.
Going, K.L. Fat Kid Rules the World.
Gordon, Sharon. Cuba.
Gravett, Paul. Manga: 60 Years of Japanese Comics.
Gray, Heather M., and Samantha Phillips. Real Girl/Real World: Tools for Finding Your True Self.
Green, Jonathon, comp. Cassell Dictionairy of Slang.

Hedayat, Sadegh. The Blind Owl. Grove Pr. The widely acclaimed Iranian classic, written in the 1930’s, was banned in Iran (2006). “The new government intends to take positive steps for reviving neglected values and considering religious teachings in the cultural field.”

Hedges, Peter. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.
Jukes, Mavis. The Gay Book: An Owner’s Manual.
Kehret, Peg. Abduction!
Langley, Andrew. 100 Greatest Tyrants.
LeGuin, Ursula K. A Fisherman of the Inland Sea.
Levitt, Steven D., and Stephen J Dubner. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything.
Lowry, Lois. The Giver.
Mackler, Carolyn. Vegan Virgin Valentine.
Mathabane, Mark. Kaffir Boy.
McBain, Ed. Alice in Jeopardy.

Mitchell, Stephen. Gilgamesh: A New English Version. Free Pr. Challenged in the Clearview Regional High School in Harrison Township, N.J. (2006) because the modern translation of on of the oldest known pieces of literature was considered sexually descriptive and unnecessarily explicit. The work itself dates back to about 1700 B.C., some one thousand years before the writings of Homer.

Mochizuki, Ken. Baseball Saved Us.
Morgan, Melissa J. TTYL.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye.
Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels.
Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds. Reluctantly Alice.
O’Brien, Tim. The Things They Carried.
Opie, Iona Archibald, and Peter Opie, eds. I Saw Esau: The Schoolchild’s Pocket Book.

Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones and Some Sneaky Peeky Spying. Random. Challenged in the Wake County, N.C. schools (2006). Parent are getting help from Called2Action, a Christian group that says its mission is to “promote and defend our shared family and social values.”

Parks, Gordon. The Learning Tree.
Paulsen, Gary. Zero to Sixty: The Motorcycle Journey of a Lifetime.
Peters, Lisa Westberg. Our Family Tree: An Evolution Story.
Pollan, Michael. The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World.
Richardson, Justin, and Peter Parnell. And Tango Makes Three.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
Ruby, Laura. Lily’s Ghost.
Sanchez, Alex. Rainbow Boys.

Schreier, Alta. Vamos a Cuba (A Visit to Cuba). Heinemann. Removed from all Miami-Dade County school libraries (2006) because a parent’s complaint that the book does not depict an accurate life in Cuba. The American Civil Liberties Union [ACLU] of Florida filed a lawsuit challenging the decision to remove this book and the twenty-three others titles in the same series from the district school libraries. In granting a preliminary injunction in July 2006 against the removal, Judge Alan S. Gold of U.S. District Court in Miami characterized the matter as a “First Amendment issue” and ruled in favor of the ACLU of Florida, which argued that the books were generally factual and that the board should add to its collection, rather than removing books it disagreed with.

Schwartz, Alvin. More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
Sebold, Alice. The Lovely Bones.
Sendak, Maurice. In The Night Kitchen.
Shafak, Elif. The Bastard of Istanbul.
Silverstein, Charles, and Edmund White. The Joy of Gay Sex.
Steer, Dugald. Wizardology: The Book of the Secrets of Merlin.
Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men.
Thompson, Craig. Blankets.
Twain, Mark (Samuel L. Clements). The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Vonnetgut, Kurt. Slaughterhouse-Five.
Watkins, Yoko Kawashima. So Far from the Bamboo Grove.
Wood, Maryrose. Sex Kittens and Horn Dawgs Fall in Love.
Wright, Richard. Black Boy.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more, maybe some challenges that make you say "you've got to be kidding me."


Selena Illyria said...

This to me is almost as bad as burning the books. *sigh*

Unknown said...

Ignorance, Arogance and Idiosy! I think it is just plain wrong! Leave the books where those of us who want them can get them.

Tilly Greene said...

Selena - there have been a few incidents of book burning in the late 90's and I find that very disturbing.

Tehya - I think Arrogance is a great way to describe someone who thinks they know what is best for everyone else.

Laura K said...

Just looking at those blank shelves makes me cringe! Wow- can't believe we're still burning the books. I suggested a simple solution (maybe it's too simple for those "narrow" minds) don't like the books? DON'T READ THEM!!!

Ray said...

I am sure the banning of Fahrenheit 451 is because of guilty feelings for daring to censor what other people read or for someone with the nerve to criticize book burning.

Reminds me of a movie made during the porn trials in the mid 20th Century. The city fathers were sitting in a smoke filled room watching porn so that they would know what to ban.

Most who would ban books are latent perverts. The know that they foam at the mouth so children must.