{bookishness} banned books week 2014

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Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from “inappropriate” sexual content or “offensive” language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom:

  1. the material was considered to be “sexually explicit”
  2. the material contained “offensive language”
  3. the materials was “unsuited to any age group”

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights (ALA’s basic policy concerning access to information) states that, “Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents—and only parents—have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children—and only their children—to library resources.” Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

If we are to continue to protect our First Amendment, we would do well to keep in mind these words of Noam Chomsky:

If we don’t believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don’t believe in it at all.

(“About Banned & Challenged Books,” ALA)

——————–

Have you decided which book you’ll be reading/celebrating/supporting for Banned Books Week this year?

Here are 2013’s

Out of 307 challenges as reported by the Office for Intellectual Freedom

  1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
    Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
  2. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence
  3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  4. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L. James
    Reasons: Nudity, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  5. The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group
  6. A Bad Boy Can Be Good for A Girl, by Tanya Lee Stone
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit
  7. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group
  9. Bless Me Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: Occult/Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
  10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
    Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence

I haven’t decided what I’ll read, but know that I will be reading something, and something in the form of a comic/graphic novel.

John Maher for Graphic Novel Reporter has compiled a list of 20 big-name graphic novels that have been suppressed in libraries across the country. Comic books are according to the Comic Book Legal Defense fund call “one of the most commonly attacked types of books.”

3 Comments Add yours

  1. tuulenhaiven says:

    Bone…? Seriously?

    1. L says:

      I know. It doesn’t seem to matter that the smoking and drunkeness is not celebrated but a characteristic of bad behaviors and questionable character. Proof that often people do not actually read the book they challenge.

      1. tuulenhaiven says:

        I’m curious about the “political view” as well. I’ll have to read the Bone series again – next week!

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