Friday, September 28, 2007

Banned Books Week!

September 29 - October 6, 2007.

To celebrate and participate, I'm going out tomorrow to pick up a banned book.

From the library.

Today is my son's 27th birthday and it reminds me of a banned book story from his days in junior high school. Daniel did not have great reading skills, a minor disability passed on from his father. He avoided reading whenever possible, but during his Jr. High days, he discovered Stephen King and was reading Misery for English class. One day he called me into his room and excitedly read me a a paragraph about the protagonist's pain (broken bones) being compared to broken pier pilings that only show when the sea is at low tide. He marveled over and over about the metaphor--"getting it" was a new experience for him. I was elated.

When his next book report was due, the teacher refused to let him read another Stephen King book, so I asked her about it at Back-to-School Night. She responded that she wanted him to read other things than horror. Period. I just wanted him to read whatever until he got hooked on reading! She'd have none of it and Daniel quickly soured on reading books for pleasure. How very sad.

So, in honor of my son's birthday and to thumb my nose at the powers that be, I present the list of books I've read from the American Library Association's Top 100 Banned Books 1900-2000 list. (comments mine):

6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (Pat the Bunny, Lenny)
7. The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume

13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger (At age 14 no less!)
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak (Oh those naked cartoon boys! And penises! My sister bought this for my daughter--her fault entirely!)
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard (Sister turned us on to this--her fault.)
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood (Sister again!)
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes (They even made a movie of this one!)
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (Shame on me, I read it to my kids)
52.Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (Didn't want us to know what was coming up!)
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice) (More fun than Disney!)
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest (What???)
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende (An absolutely beautiful book)
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
83.The Dead Zone by Stephen King
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford (WTF?)
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett

“[I]t's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.” — Judy Blume


Su Bee said...

Who is the almighty pseudo-diety that has decreed these "banned"? I've read almost all of these, (and I read Light in the Attic to my kids too!) and don't see why I shouldn't. So maybe some aren't real suitable for youngsters (Harry Potter??) but that should be a parental call, right?
SOMEONE haas let power go to their head and replace braincells.........

Quilt Pixie said...

interesting to see the ones in the list that I've read and would never have dreamed of being "banned"... Like you I figure reading is reading and yup, it might be trash but better to encourage reading trash then for people to not read....

Lazy Gal Tonya said...

I still have a "I read banned books" button that I got at the library back in the early 80's. Always amazing to see the list of banned books and go, huh?

comicbooklady said...

Your story of the teacher who didn't want your son to read horror books, reminded me of the comment I heard one parent say to their child in my comic book store: "I am not buying you a comic book. You don't know how to read."

And this rate will never learn or want to sad.

Julia said...

This absolutely amazes me. Who gets to decide what should be banned? I think that it should be a parental call. They don't seem to bann the trash they put on the screen, both t.v. and movies.

Anonymous said...

Teachers who think they know best make me sick. Studies have shown that reading ANYTHING - including comic books - is better than nothing. Who cares if all the student wants to read is Stephen King? At least the student is reading! Isn't that the point???

Kathy in MD (Stashbusters)

Michele said...

"Where's Waldo?" has a topless lady in the beach spread. Mostly seen from the back, no less.

What a short-sighted teacher your son had.

jenclair said...

Great quote!