Sunday, September 28, 2014
Every year the American Library Association, along with authors, bloggers, readers, book sellers and anyone who shares a love for reading, celebrate Banned Books Week. I love banned books week! I discover all sorts of interesting books AND I also learn about fear. Most banned books are banned out of fear… that book will promote sex or violence or turn my teenager/child/baby into a serial killer, drug addict, alcoholic. I get it. I understand that not every book is appropriate for every child (Is Fifty Shades of Grey really appropriate for kids? NO!) but this is where parents should be involved in their child's reading. Discuss what a book is about, TALK to your child, but don't take the privilege of reading a particular book away from everyone because you don't want your child to see it. Of course some parents are not involved with their child's reading, so they have to rely on librarians, teachers and other parents to be a guide. And speaking out either way is a right. BUT, leave the fear behind.
Barbara Jones, who directs the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom say, "People focus on a word, or a handful of words, and often lift them out of the context of the books." But this year the number of banned or challenged books is lower than usual. Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Jones said, "We'd like to think it's because people finally understand that pulling a book from their shelves isn't going to solve the problem they're worried about it."
This year Banned Books Week (Sept 21 - 27th) focused on graphic novels. Spiderman and Batman have gotten challenged, but also Maus, the Pulitzer Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust. Here's a list of the most challenged graphic novels from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund website.
What am I reading for Banned Books Week? The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey. It's a 10 part series (I'm reading the first book) that follows the adventure's (and pranks!) of two ten-year-old boys, who create a superhero called Captain Underpants. It's banned because of offensive language (they call their teacher "that old guy" and "mean"), nudity (Captain Underpants is, well, in his underpants), and for promoting the disobeying of authority (thus the pranks). I'll fill you in on all the bad of this book in a review and hope that it does not encourage me to fly around in my underpants (we are what we read after all, right?!)... although that may amuse a few people.
Banned Books Week, what do you think?
Happy Banned Book Reading... Suzanne