Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Kids Are Alright

Since we started Banned Books Week with a discussion of picture books I wanted to continue in the vein of children's lit.

Here's a big shout out to The Kids' Right to Read Project (KRRP). This group is on the front lines of the book banning war and they do amazing things. The best of which is advocating for the validity of children's brains - yes, indeed, kids read, kids think, kids learn!!! Let's help them!

KRRP offers wonderful resources on readers' rights and book censorship. I found this list particularly interesting and thought it would serve as a good segue into this week's posts:

Types of Objections against Books

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Profanity. Books are often challenged for the language they contain, even though profanity is often used in literature to convey social or historical context, local dialect or simply to better depict reactions to real-life situations. Books such as Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck and Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut have been challenged or banned due to objections to profanity.

Sex. Books as varied as Judy Blume’s Forever, Vladimir Nabokov’s Lolita, and Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, among many others, have been challenged by parents and school boards who deem certain sexual passages inappropriate for young people. Works such as It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris and Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman, among others, face demands for removal for their frank discussion and focus on gay/lesbian issues.

Violence. Objections to violent content are often based on the idea that these works trivialize violence or desensitize readers to its effects. Books challenged on these grounds include One Fat Summer by Robert Lypsyte and Native Son by Richard Wright.

Religion. Religious grounds have long been cited as reasons for censoring books. Reading translations of the Bible was once forbidden. Today, parents and ministers often object to works which discuss topics such as sex, evolution, or witchcraft or occult themes.

I guess that means Profanity, Sex, Violence, and Religion are the four horsemen of the book apocalypse.

3 comments:

  1. Great picture, but I'm afraid it might be construed as too lurid. I mean, all that fiery red and vivid purple is just too stimulating. Couldn't you whitewash it? ;)
    Love these posts you are doing. Keep it coming.

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  2. These Banned Books Week resources may also be of interest:

    "American Library Association Shamed," by Nat Hentoff, Laurel Leader-Call, 2 March 2007.

    "Banned Books Week and the ALA," by Dennis Ingolfsland, The Recliner Commentaries, 4 August 2009.

    "'Censors' Are So Scary," by Annoyed Librarian, Library Journal, 6 October 2008.

    "Finding Censorship Where There Is None," by Mitchell Muncy, Wall Street Journal, 24 September 2009, p.W13.

    "National Hogwash Week," as coined by Thomas Sowell. And this resource has a long, updated list of BBW-related articles.

    "US Libraries Hit Back Over Challenges to Kids Books," by Sara Hussein, Agence France-Presse [AFP], 6 September 2009.

    "Various Humbugs Regarding Banned Books Week, by Mateo Palos, Mateo Palos, 27 September 2009.

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  3. Hi Safe Libraries,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your views and the links. As you've demonstrated this is a complex issue with people on all sides. While I don't agree with the arguments in the above articles I appreciate your offering another perspective to this week's discussion!

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