Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's that time - Banned Books Week!

"Think for Yourself and Let Others Do the Same" is the slogan for Banned Books Week 2010 and I love it!  The bookmarks, above, say it all.

One of the more surprising entries on the 2009/2010 Banned/Challenged list for me was:

Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by Barbara Ehrenreich
Challenged at the Easton, Penn. School District
(2010), but retained despite a parent’s claim the book promotes “economic fallacies” and socialist ideas, as well as advocating the use of illegal drugs and belittling Christians. Source: May 2010, p. 107.

And then there's the "are you kidding me" entry:

Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary
Pulled from the Menifee, Calif. Union School District (2010) because a parent complained when a child came across the term “oral sex.” Officials said the district is forming a committee to consider a permanent classroom ban of the dictionary.  Source: Mar. 2010, p. 55.

Two often challenged/banned books considered classics and which deal with difficult subjects were once again on the list:

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Challenged at the Culpeper County, Va. public school (2010) by a parent requesting that her daughter not be required to read the book aloud.  Initially, it was reported that officials have decided to stop assigning a version of Anne Frank’s diary, one of the most enduring symbols of the atrocities of the Nazi regime, due to the complaint that the book includes sexual material and homosexual themes. The director of instruction announced the edition, published on the fiftieth anniversary of Frank’s death in a concentration camp, will not be used in the future despite the fact the school system did not follow its own policy for handling complaints. The remarks set off a hailstorm of criticism online and brought international attention to the 7,600-student school system in rural Virginia.  The superintendent said, however, that the book will remain a part of the English classes, although it may be taught at a different grade level. Source: Mar. 2010, pp. 57–58; May 2010, p. 107.

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Removed from the St. Edmund Campion Secondary School classrooms in Brampton, Ontario, Canada (2009) because a parent objected to language used in the novel, including the word “nigger.” Source: Nov. 2009, pp. 203–4.
If you want to read the list as published by the ALA [American Library Association] for yourself then go here.  Celebrate the freedom to read what you want and pick up a few of the books, then remember to Think for Yourself!

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