Friday, September 25, 2009

Adopt a book


We are embarking upon Banned Book Week, and I urge everyone to read a challenged book. Show your support of open-mindedness, your willingness to explore a culture foreign to you, your unending thirst for thought-provoking ideas, even though you may not agree with them.

It is astounding and appalling to see the list of books that were burned, banned or challenged over time and to realize new books are targeted every year. How much less rich in intellect and spirit the world would be without:

HARRY POTTER


THE KITE RUNNER

THE GOLDEN COMPASS

BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA

IN THE NIGHT KITCHEN

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

THE GRAPES OF WRATH

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

THE COLOR PURPLE

BELOVED

LORD OF THE FLIES

OF MICE AND MEN

BRAVE NEW WORLD

SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

CATCH-22

The above is just a partial list. The American Library Association lists books challenged by year, as well as information on Banned Book Week, Sept. 26-Oct. 3. Author Laurie Halse Anderson wrote on her blog about challenges to SPEAK and TWISTED and shared part of her thoughtful defense of her books. Her post and the comments section are well worth your time to read.
Also check out the Book Kids interview with E. Lockhart about a challenge to THE BOY BOOK.

18 comments:

Natalie said...

Some of my favorite books are on that list. I've been meaning to pick up The Kite Runner forever. I think it might be time.

Corey Schwartz said...

Yeah, I should probably read the Kite runner too. But still weeping over A Thousand Splendid Suns. Not sure I can deal with something heart-wrenching right now.

Lisa said...

I can't imagine life without Catcher in the Rye. I think I will re-read it this week for Banned Books Week!

Laura Canon said...

Anderson's responses are so reasonable and thoughtful it gives me hope for America.

storyqueen said...

Great post, Tricia. Can't decide which nut to crack, though. Might have to be a reread of Maurice Sendak.....busy week ahead.

Shelley

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Natalie: I think what is most amazing to me is how many of those books I respect. It's hard to imagine someone wanting to remove them from libraries.

Corey: I have not read the Kite Runner for the same reason. I have to be feeling very strong to read stories that deal with child rape. I think you should chose one that feels right. What is startling is how many books have been challenged.

Lisa: I know! It's horrible to think a book like that would not be available. We need our cages rattled.

Laura: I agree. If only all folks were as rational and compassionate.

Shelley: Thanks. Have a happy time in the night kitchen.

Donna said...

At some time or another I read and appreciated every book on this list. I am outraged once again that people try to narrow young minds by attacking these wonderful books.

Tabitha Bird said...

Great post. I am amazed by some of the books on that list. I can't think for the life of me what the problem would have been with some of them. Imagine a world without those books... I'd rather not :)

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Donna: I know, it's distressing. These books have so much to offer.

Tabitha: I'd rather not, either. I struggled to figure out what could offend anyone, too.

Stephanie Faris said...

Harry Potter was banned? I guess I missed that!

PJ Hoover said...

Ooh, LOTR! I'm tempted to pick it up again. Maybe I'll settle for a HP movie :)

Yvonne said...

Proud to say I've read fourteen of the above, and now I'll have to add Bridge and Night Kitchen to me to-do list. And about Kite Runner....read it. It isn't so much about child rape (very small part) as it is about the brutality of the Taliban, the history of Afghanistan and the grotesque hypocrisy of that group. Whenever I think of Afghanistan I think of the beautiful woman on the cover of the National Geographic thirty years ago and the follow-up they did on the hardships of her tragic life three years ago after they found her.

In support of Banned Books, I've suggested that we all write a short that might have the distinction of being banned. Let's to it!

Anna C. Morrison said...

Bridge to Terabithia is on that list?!! What on earth could people possibly have to complain about there? They don't like to cry? Life isn't full of misfortune sometimes? Do they know this was partially based on a true story? Oh, the small minds out there...it makes my head hurt.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Stephanie: Harry Potter has been one of the most challenged books, meaning people want it removed from schools and libraries. It's even been burned in bonfires. The reason? Some people think it glorifies magic and witchcraft.

PJ: I know! LOTR!

Yvonne: Way to go! I'm impressed by your well-read goodness and the writing idea.

Anna: Yup. It stuns me what books have been challenged and the narrow view of those who bring on these challenges.

Linda Kage said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person that supports this week. Glad to see other BBW followers.

I wonder if the people so gung ho to ban some of these books realize this is FICTION we're talking about, make believe, fun entertainment. It boggles my mind.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Hi Linda! Missed this comment from you. I know, mind-boggling all around.

Sybel said...

My 1st and 6th period sophomores just finished F. 451. 3rd and 4th will start a week from Monday.

I love their amazement as this dystopia unfolds. Clarisse is an enigma. Mildred freaks them out. Their ability to decipher metaphors grows as we explore the ways the government and the media can dull the mind and emotions.

Don't get me started . . .

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

Sybel: You are such an awesome teacher. They are really getting their worlds expanded in your class, and I love that they know it.