September 27, 2016

Banned Books Week


  
I’m sad to see that books are still being banned in today’s society.
This is a week during which  attention is drawn to the books that have been censored, challenged and banned in schools and libraries and during which we also celebrate the freedom to read whatever we want.
You might be surprised to find some of your favorite titles topping the list. Here they are, in  no special order.



            
Looking for Alaska by John Green“Looking for Alaska,” by John Green.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
John Green has recently risen to internet fame with his YouTube videos and beautifully written young adult novels. “Looking for Alaska” is one of the latter. In it, Miles “Pudge” Walter goes in search of something exciting, only to find exactly what he’s looking for: Alaska Young, a young, beautiful, crazy girl who steals his heart.
  

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan 



Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
An attempt to break the world record for the longest kiss is at the heart of this complex novel. The ALA cited challenges focused on ‘homosexuality’ and the suggestion that the book ‘condones public displays of affection’.


“Fifty Shades of Grey,” by E. L. James.
Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit

It may not surprise you to see E. L. James’ “Fifty Shades of Grey” at the top of the Banned Books list this year. This popular, erotic fiction series arose out of “Twilight” fan fiction and has graced the New York Times Bestseller list for some time. Its sexually explicit scenes is what has this book challenged in libraries across the nation.

I Am Jazz by Jazz Jennings and Jessica Herthel
This autobiographical picture book (co-written with Jessica Herthel) tells how the activist and YouTube star asserted and embraced her transgender identity. Reasons given for challenges included the accusation that it was ‘inaccurate’ and ‘unsuited for age group’.
 

 


Beyond Magenta by Susan Kuklin

The photographer Susan Kuklin interviewed and photographed six transgender teens, presenting a diverse and complex portrait of lives crossing traditional gender boundaries. Challenges included the suggestion that it was ‘anti-family’ and used ‘offensive language’.





The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
 
A 2003 bestseller, this novel follows Christopher as he investigates the death of his neighbour’s dog, unravelling the emotional and moral confusions of the adults around him. This sensitive portrayal of a boy on the autistic spectrum won a host of awards and has faced challenges suggesting it included ‘offensive language’ as well as ‘profanity and atheism’.




The Bible

The Bible joined the ranks of the most challenged books for the first time this year. According to the ALA challenges to this classic story of wrath and redemption cited ‘religious viewpoint’.







Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel
 
Bechdel’s graphic memoir of growing up in small-town Pennsylvania explores her relationship with her father and her own sexuality in a dense spiral of memory and allusion. Challenges in 2015 included suggestions that it contained ‘violence’ and ‘graphic images’.






Habibi by Craig Thompson

Thompson explores child slavery and sexual awakening in a graphic novel that took him seven years to complete. The ALA logged challenges objecting to ‘nudity’, as well as suggesting it was ‘sexually explicit’ and ‘unsuited for age group’.






Nasreen’s Secret School by Jeanette Winter

Winter depicts life in Afghanistan under the Taliban in this story of a girl who enrols in a secret school after both her parents disappear. According to the ALA, challenges included objections to violence and ‘religious viewpoint’.




Have you read any of them? What do you think?


3 comments:

  1. I have of course read the Bible and a couple of the others, but not all. In my library career, it was always a bit traumatic to have a book challenged. It happened several times each year and tended to come in multiples. We followed our policies during the process, policies recommended by ALA. ALA does a great job of guarding the sacredness of freedom to read. Carmen, thank you for showcasing this very important topic. Most people seeking to ban a book don't think of their actions as proposed censorship.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I started to think that all this talk about "politically correctness" has simply turned into a kind of Inquisition!
      If they could ban The Tempest, remember we talked about it sometime ago, nothing males me wonder anymore.
      We both love books and reading and as authors ourselves we understand this problem better.

      Delete
  2. I have of course read the Bible and a couple of the others, but not all. In my library career, it was always a bit traumatic to have a book challenged. It happened several times each year and tended to come in multiples. We followed our policies during the process, policies recommended by ALA. ALA does a great job of guarding the sacredness of freedom to read. Carmen, thank you for showcasing this very important topic. Most people seeking to ban a book don't think of their actions as proposed censorship.

    ReplyDelete