Posts Tagged ‘banned books’

Judy Blume on Banned Books and Getting Kids to Read

December 5th, 2011 No comments

Author Judy Blume has captured the hearts and imaginations of generations of young readers with beloved characters like Peter Hatcher and his hilariously annoying little brother Fudge. The acclaimed author has also tackled weightier subjects like family tragedy and budding sexuality in YA novels such as Tiger Eyes and Forever. Because of her popularity, and the honesty with which she approaches her work, it should come as no surprise that several of her titles have banned at various schools and libraries. Blume, who is staunchly opposed to censorship, recently appeared on NPR’s Talk of the Nation to discuss her experience with challenged books and why she thinks every child should be free to read whatever he or she chooses. Read more…


Are Penguins Really That Subversive?

September 29th, 2010 2 comments

512GipBF4qL._SL160_In recognition of Banned Books Week, the Los Angeles Times published a list of the top 10 most-challenged books of 2009 and the highly acclaimed children’s book And Tango Makes Three garnered a spot near the top of the list, yet again. Authors Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell tell the touching true story of two male penguins in New York City’s Central Park Zoo who nurture an adopted egg and hatch their little daughter Tango. This picture book, aimed at preschool–2nd grade age children has oft been maligned as promoting a gay agenda, which is the reason for the challenges. In an age where “family values” are constantly decried, it is disappointing that some would want to deprive children of an uplifting story about a loving family because of outdated prejudices. Read more…


Stockton Book Ban Evokes Criticism

September 24th, 2010 No comments

518bFu3S5KL._SL160_Earlier this month, the Stockton school board in Missouri ruled in favor of upholding their April decision to ban a book from the 9-12 grade curriculum. The book in question, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, is about the experiences of a teenage boy living on a Native American reservation and attending a primarily white high school. The book has themes of hope and survival, touches on violence and racism, and also contains sexual references and profanity. It is these latter elements that have some parents and school board members up in arms, forcing the ban, despite objections from faculty, students and the community at large. A series of articles on the News-Leader website do an admirable job of condemning the ban, highlighting the school board’s shortsightedness and emphasizing the freedom to read. Despite (or perhaps because of) the controversy, the book has obviously struck a chord with young readers. “This book in a nutshell is my hope,” states Stockton senior Dakota Freeze at the recent hearing. “It’s not about giving up. It’s about not letting people tell you you’re not worth it.” Read more…


“To Kill a Mockingbird” Still Inspires After 50 Years

June 18th, 2010 No comments

51b3duDxivL._SL160_This year marks the 50th anniversary of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning book To Kill a Mockingbird. To commemorate the milestone, Mary McDonagh Murphy has written Scout, Atticus & Boo: A Celebration of Fifty Years of To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper, 240pgs) in which twenty-six people are interviewed about their love of the book. Some of the interviewees are very well known, such as Oprah Winfrey, Anna Quindlen and Tom Brokaw, others like the author’s sister, Alice Finch Lee are less so. After 50 years in print, the novel is considered an American classic and still sells almost one million copies a year. “No other twentieth-century American novel is more widely read. Even British librarians, who were polled in 2006 and asked, “Which book should every adult read before they die?” voted To Kill a Mockingbird number one. The Bible was number two,” writes Murphy in an excerpt published on the The New Yorker‘s website. Murphy, who is also a filmmaker, has produced a documentary titled Hey, Boo to coincide with the book.
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Stealth Censor Targets F-Bombs

November 4th, 2009 No comments

swearAn unwanted copy editor has been digging through the stacks of The Maury County Public Library in Columbia, Tennessee. The local News Channel 5 reports that library staff has found over 50 books with profane language crossed out in blue ink. The targeted books are mostly fiction, many of them mystery novels, though the 9/11 Commission Report was also defaced. “It’s one word, in particular. It’s the ‘f’ word,” says Library Director Elizabeth Potts. But, catching the culprit will be very difficult. Due to a federal law that protects library patrons’ privacy, no records are kept to track the history of who borrowed a book. If caught, the offender could be charged with vandalism, or face more serious charges if they have caused more than $500 in damages. Though Potts isn’t planning to prosecute, she does want the illegal copy editing to stop. The stealth censor is violating Free Speech and altering the authors’ creative vision.

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Banned Books Week

September 29th, 2009 1 comment

banned_booksDid you know that To Kill a Mockingbird, Harry Potter, Catcher in the Rye and The Bible have all been banned books? The American Library Association is celebrating the freedom to read during Banned Books Week (Sept. 26−Oct. 3, 2009). Check out one of the titles on ALA’s banned book list, and exercise your First Amendment right to intellectual freedom.

Learn more about Banned Books Week.