A few words on censorship

“All of us can think of a book… that we hope none of our children or any other children have taken off the shelf. But if I have the right to remove that book from the shelf – that work I abhor – then you also have exactly the same right and so does everyone else. And then we have no books left on the shelf for any of us.”
— Katherine Paterson, American author of childrens books (1932-)

“Censorship is telling a man he can’t have a steak just because a baby can’t chew it.”
— Mark Twain

“The sooner we all learn to make a decision between disapproval and censorship, the better off society will be… Censorship cannot get at the real evil, and it is an evil in itself.”
— Granville Hicks (1901-1982)




Banned Book Quiz

Go ahead and guess.  It’s fun!

1. Most challenged book between 2000-2005?  The Harry Potter series, from the muggle Kathy

2. Why was Alice’s Adventure’s in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll banned in China in 1931? The portrayal of animals on the same level as humans – thanks to the adventurous Don

3. Why was the American Heritage Dictionary banned in a Missouri library in 1987In 1978, an Eldon, Missouri library banned the dictionary because it contained 39 “objectionable” words. And, in 1987, the Anchorage School Board banned the dictionary for similar reasons, i.e., having slang definitions for words such as “bed,” “knocker,” and “balls.”  – Cindy

4. What were the top 5 reasons given for a challenge between 1990-2000? (Hint-#6 is homosexual theme or promoting homosexuality)

 1. Sexually Explicit – Cindy

 2. Offensive Language – Cindy

 3.Unsuited to Age Group – Cindy

 4. Occult theme or promoting occult or Satanism

 5. Violent – Cindy

5. What Aldous Huxley novel was banned because it “centered around negative activity”?  Brave New World, from the positively centered Elena

6. What book was banned in 2 California schools in 1989 because parents were concerned of the use of alcohol in the book? Little Red Riding Hood (an illustrated version) – for a display of alcohol (taking wine to grandma)  – a toast to Don

7. Why was Of Mice & Men by John Steinbeck banned? Vulgar language

8. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner was banned in Kentucky for being antiChristian? bless you Kathy

9. Why was Anne Frank:The Diary of a Young Girl challenged?  It’s a “real downer” (1983, Alabama), a perky thanks to Cindy

10. What group of people is the largest initiator of banning attempts? Parents, of course!, the answer initiator Cindy

Banning Books, day 2

“Censorship, like charity, should begin at home: but unlike charity, it should end there.” — Claire Booth Luce

“Every burned book enlightens the world.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 “Censorship of anything, at any time, in any place, on whatever pretense, has always been and always be the last resort of the boob and the bigot.”
— Eugene Gladstone O’Neill, American playwright (1888-1953)

Why do people attempt to ban books?  I think the biggest reason is fear.  Fear of the unknown, or in some cases the known but despised.  The problem with banning books is who decides what is offensive?  As I was looking around at the multitude of sites out there about challenging books I found more than one offensive, but that doesn’t mean I am going to try and deny access to these sites or flood their message boards with hateful email. 

Also, I do see the difference between finding a book that is required reading in high school offensive and trying to get offensive books removed from the public library.  I tend to think that they are both misguided, but the intent from the parent is from a different, more understandable place.  But, unless the parent plans on keeping the child at home or on a commune for the rest of his or her life I think it’s important for said parent to realize that there is a big world out there that kids need to be aware of.  Find a book distasteful or dangerous?  Why not use it for teaching a life lesson instead of trying to hide from them what is out in the big, bad world. 

Judy Blume has written some wonderful things about censorship and she should know since many of her books have been challenged.  http://judyblume.com/censorship.php

I was surprised that so many books are still being challenged and in some cases banned.  Too many to list today, but tomorrow I’ll have a quiz to see if you can guess why a book was banned.  Some of them are pretty funny.

Banned Books Week, Sept.27-Oct.4

Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you are going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go into your library and read every book.” – Dwight D. Eisenhower
 This week I’ll be focusing on banning books and censorship.  To get the week started I copied this from the American Library Association website.  www.ala.org 
Banned Books Week
Celebrating the Freedom to Read
Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom to Read is observed during the last week of September each year. Observed since 1982, this annual ALA event reminds Americans not to take this precious democratic freedom for granted. This year, 2008, marks BBW’s 27th anniversary (September 27 through October 4).
BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.
BBW is sponsored by the American Booksellers Association, American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Library Association, American Society of Journalists and Authors, Association of American Publishers, National Association of College Stores, and is endorsed by the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress.

The most frequently challenged books of 2007

The following books were the most frequently challenged in 2007:
The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness.  According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.
The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:
1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons:  Religious Viewpoint
5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons:  Racism
6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7) “TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8) “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons:  Sexually Explicit
9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons:  Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10) “The Perks of Being A Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons:  Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
Off the list this year, are two books by author Toni Morrison. “The Bluest Eye” and “Beloved,” both challenged for sexual content and offensive language.

The most frequently challenged authors of 2007

1) Robert Cormier
2) Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
3) Mark Twain
4) Toni Morrison
5) Philip Pullman
6) Kevin Henkes
7) Lois Lowry
8) Chris Crutcher
9) Lauren Myracle
10) Joann Sfar