Sunday, July 19, 2009

Banned books of America...

Saturday my dad, my sister and I all went to see Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, which was fabulous! If you're a Harry Potter fan I do not see how you can be disappointed. They did a tremendous job on this film. I could go on and on about my favorite fictitious characters Harry, Ron and Hermione but that's not what this post is about...

It's about the fact that CLASSIC children's books are being banned, and I think it's incredibly sad.

I was really excited when I saw the preview for the movie Where The Wild Things Are because this was a favorite of mine when I was a little girl. The three of us got to talking about our favorite books as children and my sister reminded us that Where The Wild Things Are is a banned book in the United States. I don't know why I felt surprised, because I already knew this fact but it really got me thinking and wondering. What other books are banned? And, why? My sister's answer to that question, was "those books encourage kids to use their imagination too much."

I haven't been able to stop thinking about this, so I did a little research...

Some reasons for the censorship are very obvious, although still seemingly ignorant to me. Reasons such as Mark Twain's use of the "n" word through The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou for the rape scene. Students are missing out on outstanding pieces of literature that are important to our culture.

Some schools have gone as far as banning Harry Potter books for it's witchcraft themes. I can understand banning a book for explicit scenes and derogatory terms, but banning a book purely because it's too much imagination is just silly.

When does this stop? What exactly are children supposed to read? What are they supposedly being protected from? Shouldn't we be teaching kids that these books are fiction and yes, may be a reflection of those times when they were written but they are a lesson to us about right and wrong. How long will it before basic HISTORY is banned because, it contains too much violence?

I feel very privileged because I was assigned literature like The Scarlet Letter and To Kill a Mockingbird when in school and I also had a parent that encouraged me to read whatever I wanted. My father is a big reader and he is who I get my passion for reading from. He took it upon himself to make sure I was aware of the classics and that I could get my hands on them.

When I become a parent I hope to do the same. Most likely my kids will not get the same reading assignments as I did in school, but I will make sure they are familiar with these legendary tales by some of the greatest authors of all time.

Here is a list of books that are currently banned in most American schools:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Harry Potter Series
To Kill a Mockingbird
Where the Wild Things Are
Bridge to Terabithia
The Lord of the Flies
Of Mice and Men
The Color Purple
Forever (Judy Blume)
The Catcher in the Rye
Go Ask Alice
The Great Gilly Hopkins

Some of these books I can understand not being available in schools and I found on my own as a kid (like Go Ask Alice) but some of these titles are just plain silly to me.

What do you think about these books being banned? What are some of your favorite books that are now banned from schools?


Amber (Girl with the red hair) said...

Oh wow! I don't know if they just don't ban the same books in Canada or if this is recent but I read both "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Lord of the Flies" in school. Both GREAT works of literature. I think part of the importance of the books, especially ones centred around racism like To Kill a Mockingbird is to show kids how things USED to be and that it's NOT right for things to be that way anymore!

As for Harry Potter - I'm SHOCKED thats banned. My sixth grade teacher read that to us in the 6th grade! I hope that it will become considered a great work of literature one day because not only is it an amazing story but her writing and parallelisms are really fascinating. I will absolutely be reading Harry Potter to my kids!

I also thought the movie was AMAZING. Best one yet, by far!

Beth Dunn said...

I am actually in shock. I did not realize so many of those books are banned. I had to read some of them. Catcher in the Rye??? How could they? I love that book. xoxo

Anonymous said...

I must have gone to a rather permissive school in Upstate NY. 4 of those books are on the highschool reading lists currently (broken down by grade level) and others are used in the lower grades still.

Damn closed minded fools.

Classy in Philadelphia said...

I tried to reply to your comment about needing inspiration, but I don't have your e-mail address!

How are those floating ideas going? Get anything written down? I haven't :(

Crazy Shenanigans said...

I think it's so sad that they ban books in schools. I mean hello, what happened to free speech. BOOOO

Everyone should read To Kill A Mockingbird.

Lesli said...

I am very, very much against book banning and any form of censorship. I loved Go Ask Alice and Forever. And the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a piece of classic American fiction. Makes me sad!

Shoshanah said...

The crazy thing is the list you listed is relatively short. I know I've seen a list of the top 100 banned boxes. (which means since its a top 100, that there are over than 100) Luckily, most school libraries don't ban most of these. I do get that parents feel by banning books they are protecting their children. However, there are book like The Diary of Anne Frank on there. Yes, I get that its something sad, but its something that actually happened. And there's only so long you can protect your children from everything.

Scintillating Salmagundi said...

To Kill a Mockingbird and Lord of the Flies are two of the most important books I ever read in school. I will make my kids read them if they are banned in school. This is an outrage!

Polka Dots & Protein Bars said...

How sad that all of these amazing books are being banned. Like you, I was thrilled to see the preview for Where the Wild Things Are. I can't imagine growing up and never being able to read it.

SarahBeth said...

I read "Forever" when I was in elementary school and I remember reading all about the guy's penis, which I believe was named Ralph, and feeling pretty uncomfortable and disturbed... so I guess I can understand protecting little kids from that one. But "Where the Wild Things Are" and most of the others? Great books! Very sad kids have to miss out on some of this stuff...

Mrs. Who said...

Well, I teach elementary school in the deep, deep South and 'Where the Wild Things Are' most definitely ISN'T banned. We also have all the HP books, Bridge to Terabithia, and Huckleberry Finn. In fact, Bridge to Terabithia is often used in the 4th or 5th grade classes. The rest are too old for our age group.

Jenny Georgio-who said...

Here is a list of books that are currently banned in most American schools:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (assigned HS reading)
The Harry Potter Series (not interested in it)
To Kill a Mockingbird (assigned HS and college reading)
Where the Wild Things Are (assigned HS reading)
Bridge to Terabithia
The Lord of the Flies (assigned HS reading)
Of Mice and Men (assigned HS reading)
The Color Purple (assigned HS reading/college film course)
Forever (Judy Blume)
The Catcher in the Rye (assigned HS reading)
Go Ask Alice
The Great Gilly Hopkins

I went to high school in Texas and the majority of those books were assigned reading in high school. I couldn't imagine a 6th grader reading To Kill a Mockingbird with the rape scene but a high school kid is okay.

Wow, so many classics banned.

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Wow - I had no idea some of these books were banned. How sad. If I have children, I will make sure to read these books w/ my kids! There are so many classics that I have such fond memories of reading.

I don't know why I am surprised by the banning. But I am. I want to say that B&N has a shelf of banned books in their childrens/YA section. I'll have to browse that section next time I'm there (if I ever let myself return - I am afraid I'll go on a huge book buying spree!)

Don't you think that by banning these books, kids are going to watch to read them even more?