General · reading

Banned Book Week, 2020

It is banned book week once more, a week to celebrate literacy and reading.

I haven’t been keeping track of banned book weeks for the past couple of years and this year I decided to take a look.

This year’s top ten list of banned books from the ALA include:

  1. George by Alex Gino
    Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
    Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
    Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
    Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message

The list has changed a lot since the last time I looked at it, and I don’t remember when that was. A few years back anyway.

I have heard of only four books: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison, Of Mice and Men by John Steinback, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

I have read only two: Of Mice and Men by John Steinback and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Of Mice and Men was required reading in school and I remember nothing of it.

It seems George has been on the list for the past few years and I hadn’t even heard of it.

All American Boys has “too much of a sensitive matter right now” as a reason to ban it and I really don’t know what that means. I wonder if that means there will come a time when it is not banned because the matter is no longer sensitive.

General · reading

Banned Books Week 2012

Banned books week starts tomorrow, September 30 2012. It ends next Saturday on October 6, 2012.

There is even a youtube channel: http://www.youtube.com/bannedbooksweek

The point is to celebrate books that people want to ban. This year that list includes:

  1. ttyl; ttfn; l8r, g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  2. The Color of Earth (series), by Kim Dong Hwa
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  3. The Hunger Games trilogy, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic; violence
  4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
    Reasons: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: offensive language; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
  6. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; religious viewpoint
  7. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
    Reasons: insensitivity; nudity; racism; religious viewpoint; sexually explicit
  8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
    Reasons: nudity; offensive language; sexually explicit
  9. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily Von Ziegesar
    Reasons: drugs; offensive language; sexually explicit
  10. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
    Reasons: offensive language; racism

The Hunger Games, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Brave New World and What My Mother Doesn’t Know appear on last year’s list, too. I suppose people felt threatened by them two years running.

I have only read Brave New World and The Hunger Games. For Hunger Games, the only reason I can understand is violence. The other reasons – anti-ethnic; anti-family; insensitivity; offensive language; occult/satanic – baffle me. Occult? Satanic? I must have missed the occult and the satanic. Offensive language? I don’t remember any. At least not a lot. Anti-ethnic, anti-family, insensitivity? I am baffled.

Also, as an aside, last year Hunger Games was challenged for: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence. Sexually explicit and unsuited to age group are no longer on the reasons list. I wonder if people suddenly decided it is suited to the age group? A little confusing . . .

People want to challenge Brave New World because of insensitivity, nudity, racism, religious viewpoint and sexually explicit. There is probably a certain amount of nudity in the book and I remember sex, too . . . but that’s doesn’t explain why people have banned it! If that was enough, the whole romance genre would be banned. And as for the others – insensitivity, racism, religious viewpoint – I don’t understand them at all.

The plan was to read a banned book this week, but I don’t know which. Truthfully, none of these books appeal. Anyway. Maybe To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s a classic; I should probably read it at some point.