Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Read a banned book lately?

Another Banned Books Week has come and gone (but the display lives on!)  The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom creates a list of books that were formally challenged the previous year.   And each year, I feel my blood pressure rise as I look over the latest list of most banned books of the previous year.  Really?  Brave New World?  Still?  Or what about this one:

 My Mom's Having a Baby!: A Kid's Month-By-Month Guide to Pregnancy
My Mom's Having A Baby! A Kid's Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy, by Dori Hillestad Butler
Reasons for challenge: nudity; sex education; sexually explicit; unsuited to age group
Geez.  Imagine a book explaining pregnancy without pictures of the human body, sex education, or sexually explicit language.  If  parents want to wait to describe pregnancy and childbirth to their children, that is absolutely their prerogative; however, demanding that a library remove such a title doesn’t leave the parents who would like their children to read this book the opportunity to do so.  As I once told a mother who was upset about a young adult novel her 13-year-old daughter checked out of our public library, “If you are concerned about your daughter’s book selections, you may want to go to the library with her and speak with her about making appropriate choices.”

Ready for another one?

To Kill a Mockingbird
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
Reasons: offensive language; racism
So let me get this straight.  An author trying to show an example of rampant racism is not permitted to illustrate this with the offensive language and racism that illustrates her point? 
Be sure to take a look at the books we have on display in the case on the library’s upstairs landing.  And, if you have the time and the inclination, please check out a banned book to read.
Mrs. Hodge

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