Monday, September 20, 2010
Banned Book Challenge...Read a Banned Book Today!
Last year Ani Vrabel at Paste Magazine.com wrote an article called "10 Frequently-Challenged Books Everyone Should Read." The article highlights each selection and tells why the book is frequently-challenged and why it is worthwhile reading. The ten books are listed below and please take a look at the article for all those details. After Vrabel's list I have added a few frequently-challenged books that I think everyone should read. In the comment section, please add your suggestions of books you think everyone should read, too.
1. Catcher in the Rye by Holden Caufield
I read this book a few years ago because it has been such a frequently-challenged book. I honestly think that attempts at banning books actually causes many people to read the books.
2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Because it is an uncomfortable subject it should be banned?
3. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
I had a student tell me that he hated this book because it contains the N-word. I asked him if his teacher did anything about the history of the time when it was written to help him understand the use of the word. He said no. Such a pity.
4. The Giver by Lois Lowry
5. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
6. Native Son by Richard Wright
7. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
8. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Can you believe that I haven't read books 4-8? Obviously they are all on my "list" now.
9. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
I guess that parents are uncomfortable with death and learning disabilities, otherwise why would they want to ban this classic?
10. Any book by Judy Blume
I'm a bit old to have benefited personally from Judy Blume, but my daughters read her books and felt they helped.
Books I would add to the list of frequently-challenged books everyone should read ...
A. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Why it is challenged: profanity and sexual content.
Why it is worthwhile: Alexie is Native American. He writes about life on the reservation and what challenges alcoholism and poverty pose for his people. The book is funny, yet poignant. It doesn't preach but you will understand much more about the culture and problems. This book is thought to be semi-autobiographical.
B. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Why it is challenged: racial slurs; seemingly racism.
Why it is worthwhile: This is truly the great American novel. It is so-o-o-o well written. Twain is truly the best of the best. Huckleberry Finn does seem to be racist at the beginning of the story but he figures out that his initial thoughts are wrong. With a good teacher and class discussion, any racial issues can be assuaged. (I think this book is the perfect book to listen to on audio-books since it is written in vernacular. Loved it!)
What books would be put on this list?
For more ideas, here is a list of 25 frequently-banned books that everyone should be read.