"Outside a dog a book is man's best friend, inside a dog it is too dark to read!" -Groucho Marx========="The person, be it gentleman or lady, who has not pleasure in a good novel, must be intolerably stupid." -Jane Austen========="I don’t believe in the kind of magic in my books. But I do believe something very magical can happen when you read a good book."-JK Rowling========"I spend a lot of time reading." -Bill Gates=========“Ahhh. Bed, book, kitten, sandwich. All one needed in life, really.” -Jacqueline Kelly=========

Saturday, October 1, 2011

2011 Banned Books Week Wrap Up

It's been quite a busy week in the GKHS library with the Banned Books Week emphasis.  Here is a wrap-up:
  • I gave over eight book-talks this week with the emphasis on banned/challenged books. When I told the students how Slaughterhouse Five was "sort of" unbanned in the Republic, Missouri school district, not a single student I asked would have his/her parent to come to school to check it out for them.  So we all decided that the book is essentially still banned.
  • We checked out over 425 books this week.  That is about 100 books over the weekly average.  Obviously all the extra books weren't banned books, but a lot of them were.  As Mark Twain said, "Nothing like a little dirt to encourage literacy."
  • Where's Waldo, The Holy Bible, and The Harry Potter series are the books that kids are the most shocked to learn are/have been banned books. Here's my favorite explanation of why Where's Waldo is banned.  It is a very funny explanation. The Holy Bible has obviously been banned in some Islamic countries, but I often have students act surprised that I have a Bible in my library collection. "Why not?" I ask.  "I have a Koran (Qur'an), too!"  Teens today are too young to remember the whole kerfuffle that Harry Potter caused when the books were first becoming popular in the US.
  • The irony of banned books and 1st Amendment issues.  Banning books is a travesty in generalities but kids aren't so sure about specifics.  For example, I presented a lesson to the Business Law class on 1st Amendment issues. I talked about case law as it related to book banning, ending with and introduction to Board of Education v. Pico (1982), which held that school boards had limited power when it came to removing books from their libraries. The students were nodding in agreement.  No one should tell them they can't read a book...that is until I told them about the top banned book this year, Tango Makes Three. Tango is the true story about two penguins at a zoo which adopt a rejected egg and raise the baby penguin.  When I told them that the two penguins were males. I lost the class at that point.  All maturity evaporated at that point and the boys acted like that was the worst book ever written.  When I pointed out that the book says nothing about homosexuality, they commented that it was implied. They could think of nothing grosser.  Isn't that sad? Prejudice and peer-pressure at work.

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