This week I am going to read a banned book.
Because I can and because I think censorship hurts us all.
To make my selection I visited the American Library Association's frequently banned or challenged lists from the past few years. From these lists, I will select a book I haven't read before.
Which of these should I select?
- Drama written and illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: challenged because it includes LGBT characters, was deemed sexually explicit, and was considered to have an offensive political viewpoint
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: offensive language, unsuited for age group
- Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reason: political viewpoint, racism, violence
- A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
- Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
Reasons: homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”)
- Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
Reasons: religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence
- The Holy Bible
Reasons: religious viewpoint
All these books have been on the top ten banned/challenged books list at least once in the past five years. Ridiculous!
I always told my students, if they don't like a book that they checked out, bring it back. But don't make a fuss about it. Just because you don't like doesn't mean it isn't a good one for someone else.
In addition to reading one or more of the above books, I will listen to an audiobook of Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. It was the 46th most challenged book of the decade, 2000-09.
Join me. Read a banned book this week!