Monday, September 23, 2013

The School is Making My Kids Read Banned Books!

Given that it's Banned Books Week and I like to be in the know as to what offensive and terrible for my kids' minds books are out there, I was looking over the list of top 100 Banned/Challenged Books.  And I was shocked and surprised to find what looked like my kids' school reading list.  Did I go to the wrong site? Was I looking at the wrong list?  I had to pull out my notes from Back to School Night and check.

But there they were - right on the list of books random folks said that children should not be reading or have access to in the public libraries.

Harry Potter topped the list of books challenged in the last decade.  We haven't read it because I don't like witch-y/wizardy stories.  Although this isn't official school reading, one of my daughter's teachers said that they would be reading it to discuss plot and character development in a generic sense; she figured since most, if not all, of the kids read it, that would be easy.  My daughter hadn't read it and I really wasn't trying to fight with her to read it, because in addition to my shying away from the series, she doesn't really like to read, especially long books, so let's have this battle over required reading. Surely some other book has plot and character development.  Yes, the teacher suggested some other books - still of considerable length - she could read and still be able to add to the discussion. Wow, that was easy, without having to dictate what every other child reads.  What else you got?

Of Mice and Men, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Huckleberry Finn, The Bluest Eye, Catcher in the Rye, and To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Giver.  Wait, no Autobiography of Malcolm X? I thought we could knock out my daughter's whole high school list and she could breeze through school.

And not be left out, there's a few to be left off the elementary list, too.  Captain Underpants - perhaps for partial nudity?  And the Junie B Jones series.  Oh, yeah, that girl is trouble.  Surely, she incites kids all over the country to push other kids off the playground and tease their little brothers. We can't have that.

I agree, that some of these books, perhaps should not be required school reading, for instance, the joy of any-kind-of-sex, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't be in the public library. Who are we to say what other people should read?  Remember - these challenged books are not just for school kids, they would be banned in the library - so adults couldn't read them either.  Now, yeah, if there was a 101 Ways to Wreak Havoc & Cause Mayhem book (and sadly, I won't be surprised if you tell me there is), I might agree that it shouldn't be available for free, housed in a public building, folks should have to pay their own $14.95 for such craziness.  But Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.  I think that's a rite of passage, just as much as pimples and changing voices.

Enjoy a banned book with your child this week.

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Robyn said...

Are they really still banning Judy Blume? My favorite preteen Judy albumen book was "Forever." That book stayed checked out in my school library. Happy her books weren't banned in the late 1970s.

Robyn said...

Oops Judy *Blume*