Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Attempted Banning of Books...

So yeah, I'm on a book theme here... I think it's my new "cause". As I was reading about the impending demise of libraries I came across a bunch of articles on the American Library Association's website (initials are just a cool coincidence): All pertaining to the 100 most challenged books in America... These are books that various groups (for whatever reason) want pulled from Public and School library shelves... ("A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the actual removal of those materials.")

Before I read the list I made my own list of what books I expected to find there --I was right about a few, but the majority of books and authors targeted really shocked me...

First we'll start with reasons these books were challenged:

  • 1,607 were challenges to “sexually explicit” material (up 161 since 1999)

  • 1,427 to material considered to use “offensive language”; (up 165 since 1999)

  • 1,256 to material considered “unsuited to age group”; (up 89 since 1999)

  • 842 to material with an “occult theme or promoting the occult or Satanism,”; (up 69 since 1999)

  • 737 to material considered to be “violent”; (up 107 since 1999)

  • 515 to material with a homosexual theme or “promoting homosexuality,” (up 18 since 1999)

  • 419 to material “promoting a religious viewpoint.” (up 22 since 1999)

  • 317 challenges for “nudity” (up 20 since 1999)

  • 267 challenges “racism” (up 22 since 1999)

  • 224 challenges for “sex education” (up 7 since 1999)

  • 202 challenges for “anti-family” (up 9 since 1999)

  • So, you can read the entire list of 100 from 1990-2000 here -or the top ten from 2005 here...I disagree with all banning of books, but I'm listing some of the ones I couldn't believe were on the list:

    Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz (it's #1 on the list of 100...I have bought my boys all of them...)

    Numbers 3,5-8 (also own all of them):
    I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
    The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
    Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
    Forever by Judy Blume (almost every book by Judy Blume is on the list!)

    #16 & 18 (own them):
    Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
    The Color Purple by Alice Walker

    #22, 23 & 27(own them):
    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
    Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
    The Witches by Roald Dahl

    #42 & 43 (own them):
    Beloved by Toni Morrison (almost every book by Toni Morrison is on the list!)
    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (are you kidding me?!)

    #51 (of course I own it...who doesn't?!):
    A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

    (okay, so you get the point that I'm listing the ones I have):
    The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
    Lord of the Flies by William Golding
    Native Son by Richard Wright
    Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford (Hello?)

    I can't even continue, It's way too depressing...

    I know this mentality. The middle school I attended SUSPENDED me for reading "Go Ask Alice" and "Forever" --the next school I went to had them in the school library. I grew up on Judy Blume, VC Andrews and Ann Rice...and look, I have tattoos and my tongue pierced, but I'm still a good conservative girl ;)

    The only challenge I would begin to entertain would be the "unsuited to age group", but I'd be interested to know which books they were and what age group they're meant for...

    I would be remiss in failing to point out this isn't a political thing --from all the reading I've done about this, it's plain to see the kooks definitely reside on BOTH sides of the aisle.

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