If you’ve been here a while, you know how much I love the library. Jackjack, Little Peanut, and I go every week, and we love picking out books and learning new things. Although I’m not interested in reading about 50 shades of anything, I strongly believe that people should be able to if they want to.
This brings me to Banned Books Week, which kicks off today. Banned Books Week is the national book community’s annual celebration of everyone’s freedom to read, question, learn, and think for themselves.
We’re not talking about historical, 1950s-era book banning here, people. Books of all stripes are being challenged and removed from public libraries and school libraries TODAY. Here are a few challenges from 2009-2011, from the American Library Association (view map and list here).
My Brother Sam is Dead was challenged in the Muscogee County Elementary School libraries because of a parent’s objection to content she found profane. (A character shouts, “You little bastard!”) It’s a Newbery Honor book, ALA Notable Children’s Book, and was nominated for a National Book Award in 1975.
This wasn’t one of my favorite books in high school, but I can tell you that I heard people say much worse than “you little bastard” at my all-girls, Catholic high school. All. The. Time.
Jeff Smith’s Bone was challenged because of a parent’s concern that the series includes smoking, drinking, and gambling in its graphics and storyline.
The series is suitable for fourth grade and up, has won several awards, and received positive reviews from national publications, including Time, which touted the series as the “best all-ages graphic novel ever published.”
Bone is one of my favorite comics. I wonder if the parent who challenged the book ever takes their kid to Walmart, where people smoke out front? Or a restaurant that serves wine? What if they drive past a casino?
Maybe your kid should see reality and make their own decisions about what’s right and wrong.
Ok, I’m calm again.
Back to the list. This one cracks me up.
And Tango Makes Three is based on the true story of Roy and Silo, two male chinstrap penguins in New York’s Central Park Zoo. The book follows the six years of their life when they were given an egg to raise.
Says Richardson, “We wrote the book to help parents teach children about same-sex parent families. It’s no more an argument in favor of human gay relationships than it is a call for children to swallow their fish whole or sleep on rocks.”
Phew. I was really worried about Jackjack eating some koi out of our pond after he read that one.
My Mom’s Having a Baby was challenged because it is inappropriate for children.
This is information, not instruction, people. You’re not giving your kid The Joy of Sex, you’re teaching them that babies don’t pop out of storks’ tummies under cabbage leaves. Grrr.
Last one—are you sitting down?
Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary was pulled from Menifee Union School District 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.
I’m so disgusted that I can’t even comment.