Why Read Banned and Challenged Books?
I was helping out at my school book fair last year, and I pointed out And Tango Makes Three to my son’s Kindergarten teacher as she was looking for good books to put in her pile. “This one is banned because the parents of the penguin are gay,” I told her. “I heard it was really good.”
She was offended that a picture book would be banned for homosexuality so, of course, she added it to her pile. I felt like we scored a minor victory that day. The reality is that every year, there IS a child in her class that has gay parents so a book like And Tango Makes Three is an important addition to her classroom library.
We seem to have more two mom families than two dads at our school. My kids have come home from Kindergarten and ask why their friend has two moms and my reply is, “Because moms rock.” My kids agree with that though they wish they had two moms too! Our first two mom family introduced us to It’s OK to Be Different by Todd Parr which is a great book for understanding our differences at a preschool or Kindergarten.
I am going to make a point of reading these banned and challenged picture and chapter books, if only to understand where on the continuum they belong in my children’s hands. How about you? How do you feel about banned or challenged books? Please comment!
According to the American Library Association (ALA), the following books are the 10 Most Challenged Books of 2010. After the title and author of each book are the reasons cited for the challenges:
This is the only picture book on the Top 10 list.
Reasons: homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
2. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: offensive language, racism, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
3. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Reasons: insensitivity, offensive language, racism, and sexually explicit
4. Crank by Ellen Hopkins
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, and sexually explicit
5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Reasons: sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and violence
6. Lush by Natasha Friend
Reasons: drugs, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
7. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
Reasons: sexism, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
8. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
Reasons: drugs, inaccurate, offensive language, political viewpoint, and religious viewpoint
9. Revolutionary Voices edited by Amy Sonnie
Reasons: homosexuality and sexually explicit
10. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
Reasons: religious viewpoint and violence
(Source: American Library Association)
The 100 Most Challenged Books of the Decade (2000-2009)
1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2. Alice series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series) by Alvin Schwartz
9. ttyl, l8r, g8r (series) by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(See the ALA Web site for the entire list.)
To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.