Friday, September 17, 2010

Yet Another Banned Book

Banned Books Week is coming up (Sept 25-Oct 2), so it was kind of fitting when I heard a book had recently been banned from a school library in a town very near to mine.  It wasn't just was voted by the school board to ban it.

This is the book that was banned, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  I actually have not read this book, but I plan to.  Very soon.  Along with the hundreds of kids who are now banned from reading this book.  Because when you ban a book, it just makes it that much more popular.  Which is awesome for the author.  But the amount of hatred towards that author is not awesome- and that part sucks. 

You can probably guess the stand most librarians and authors have on this issue.  I'm not going to go into depth why I believe book banning is wrong, because this blog isn't really here for me to rant and go all politic-y on you. 

I think my most basic argument is this:  if you are a parent, and you don't want your child to read something, then don't let them read it.  PLEASE do not decide what is okay for someone else's child to read.  Books are created for our enjoyment, and what one person may hate, another may love.  It is not for you to decide what other children should or shouldn't be reading.  A good parent is one that cares about his/her child, and talks to them about their beliefs and why they believe it.  I'm not telling parents to let their children read this book.  I am saying, let the libraries cary it, and if you need to talk to your own child about whether or not you want them to read it, then talk to them about it.  Not mine.  I'll do the talking with mine, you do the talking with yours.   And leave the book selection to the librarians.  I'm pretty sure they know what they are doing.

And guess what, when they turn 18 and out the door, you better believe they will read every book you wouldn't let them read, watch every movie you restricted, and use every curse word that was forbidden (okay probably earlier while they are out with their friends somewhere...but that's not the point).  I think the more communication we have with our children, the better off they will be as they grow into adults and their little minds are bombarded with information.  If you respect them, they will respect you.  And hopefully, whatever your wishes are (I'm not going into that right now...) they will respect them as well. 

Okay, stepping off my soap box now.

I'd like to close my post with an awesome awesome response to the recent book banning.  THIS was written to the Opinions section of a local newspaper in response to the banning of Absolutely True Diary...
I love how sarcastic he is, and what I love even more, is the fact that many people thought he was serious.

So...pick up a banned book to read next week.  You can find a list of the most challenged books in 2009 Here, and any other links to books or info on Banned Books Week.  I'm going to read Absolutely True Diary that week...  Oh wait, I can't get a copy at my library because there are 65 HOLDS on it! (and it just keeps rising!)  But have no fear!  We have many more on order!  Which means more money for the author, woot!  More publicity = more demand, which in turn = more published books! Or, I can just read one of the many other books that have been contested or banned.

Maybe I'll read this instead:      or this:   or maybe even this:

Have you ever encountered an instance in which a book has been banned in your library or school?

Happy reading everyone!


GreenBeanTeenQueen said...

This makes me so mad!! But I love love love the opinion letter you linked to-hilarious!:) The hold list is up to 69 today and 25 holds on the large print. And I bought a copy for my own personal library of course!

Anonymous said...

As an Education major (and soon to be school librarian, I hope) I can't tell you the number of times the topic of banned books has come up. It's ridiculous! In the school I taught at, a parent argued about a book that had little frogs "playing piggyback" to make more frogs. She thought it was an outrage that her son saw such a thing. I wanted to tell her, "Look lady, I live near you and see your dog "playing piggyback" with everything in your front yard and you're telling me you can't have your son see this?!" I loved the opinion you linked. Thanks so much for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

As for what happened to the frog book... the librarian at the time didn't stand up for it.. pulled it off the shelf until the child left the school, and then she put it back out.

mom said...

At our library we "celebrate" banned books week every year with displays and posters. We've had a few complaints over the years, one recent one being a picture book called: And Tango makes Three by Justin Richardson

Abby Minard said...

Sarah- excited to see the hold list going up!

Angela- hilarious! I think I would laugh my head off if I saw that book- it sounds cute. Sorry the librarian didn't stand up for the book...sometimes it's really hard especially in those small schools.

Mom- yeah, we have displays and stuff that week too. I never hear if there are any complaints or not, since I'm not on the "front lines".

C.E. said...

Amen! Book Banning makes me So ANGRY! bahaha piggy back frogs. awesome. lol

Glad you're in on the banned book challenge too!

Maggie said...

I'm a little late commenting, but I'm here!

I love this post. Book-banning should be left to the parents' thoughts on what their OWN child should read. Keeping your kid from reading something is fine; a personal choice, but keeping everyone else from reading that book as well just doesn't seem fair. Just because one person is upset with a book, doesn't mean everyone else will be.

Luckily my school actually tries to get the students to read banned books, especially during Banned Book Week. I know that our book club is reading the one that you have mentioned here, and for class we had to read To Kill A Mockingbird freshmen year, and I'm pretty sure Huck Finn this year (junior year). And we have like, twelve copies of each book in Harry Potter. Basically, our school loves banned books. ;P

Once again, I love this post. And the link is hilarious!