I think we’ve established that I’m very much against banning or challenging books in general, but reading through the Books Challenged or Banned in 2011 really made my head spin a few times. While most people challenge a book due to the typical subjects like sexual content or violence, there were a few on that were challenged for such ludicrous reasons that I had to say something about them. As I said early in the week, on Banned Books week kick-off day, I don’t feel that any book should be banned or challenged for any reason, and that parents should guide their children to make the right choice for their family without interfering with other family’s values or rights to access the material.
Books Challenged for Wacky Reasons
by Dori Hillestad Butler. This award-winning children’s book, published in 2005, explains how in simple but honest language how babies are made and how they grow in the womb. It was challenged in the Carrolton, Texas library because it is “inappropriate for children.” Considering that I still haven’t figured out how to explain the process to Jake, I think this is definitely one I need to look into.
Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America by Barbara Ehrenreich. This is a great book on how pretty much no one can survive on $6-7 per hour. It was challenged in Easton PA (not far from my house) because it represented “economic fallacies.” Seriously? I’m sorry, are those parents living in a different country than I am? Because our economy stinks, and many, many people are trying to get by on minimum wage or less. In fact, I’m fairly certain most of Easton, PA is trying to get by on nothing.
The Awakening by Kate Chopin. Challenged in a Georgia library because the book’s cover depicted a painting of a woman with a bare chest. It was originally published in 1899. If we’re more prude now than we were over 100 years ago, something is seriously wrong. Guess what? Women have breasts! Some even still have natural ones! Why is it that an image of a shirtless man is perfectly acceptable, but when it’s a woman, it’s considered inappropriate and shocking?
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Challenged in Goffstown N.H. by a parent claiming that it gave her daughter nightmares and numbed kids to violence. Okay, first of all, anything can give anyone nightmares. The Velveteen Rabbit gave me horrible nightmares as a kid every time I was sick, because I was convinced someone would take away my beloved stuffed animals. Second, numbs children to violence? Gee, I think the nightly news does a better job of that!
Pit Bulls and Tenacious Guard Dogs by Carl Semencic. Banned from a library in Logan, Australia because it discusses a breed that is banned in the city. Um, last I checked, murder was “prohibited” in most countries as well, but there are still true crime books on the shelves. I’m not even going to get into the unfair banning of pit bulls, because that’s a whole other debate.
I highly suggest checking out the list and educating yourself about attempts to restrict your right to access certain reading material. Remember, no one has a right to decide what you or your child should read except you. Once again, Happy Banned Books week!