Friday, October 3, 2008

Banned Books Week 2008: SEX and Sexuality really BUG some people. And they want to make sure YOU don't get to read about it!

It's Banned Books Week!
(September 27-October 4, 2008)

Check this out from the American Library Association website: (I've added the highlights, colors and the links)

The most frequently challenged books of 2007

The following books were the most frequently challenged in 2007:

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom received a total of 420 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. According to Judith F. Krug, director of the Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges reflects only incidents reported, and for each reported, four or five remain unreported.

The “10 Most Challenged Books of 2007” reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

1) “And Tango Makes Three,” by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group

2) The Chocolate War,” by Robert Cormier
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence

3) “Olive’s Ocean,” by Kevin Henkes
Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language

4) “The Golden Compass,” by Philip Pullman
Reasons: Religious Viewpoint

5) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” by Mark Twain
Reasons: Racism

6) “The Color Purple,” by Alice Walker
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,

7) "TTYL,” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

8) "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou
Reasons: Sexually Explicit

9) “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris
Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit

10) "The Perks of Being A Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group

So 8 out of 10 of the most challenged books in America had to do with Sex and Homosexuality. Wow, we have some issues as a country, huh?

The best response to a book challenge, I think, is to read the book.

Buy the book.

Request the book at your local libraries. (This is super-important - Librarians use "requests" to back them up when they want to acquire a book for their collection!)

Talk about the book and your take on why it was challenged.

In a funny reverse psychology way, sometimes a book being challenged actually helps the book's promotion and sales - more people find out about it, and thus it's more widely read than it might have been if it hadn't been challenged.

READING well, it turns out, is the best revenge!

It's last year's poster, but I still love this image!

Now MY favorite Banned Book is #1 - "And Tango Makes Three"

What's YOUR favorite Banned Book? Tell me (and everyone else reading this blog) in "comments!"

Have a great weekend, and celebrate by reading something BANNED!




Anonymous said...

Hello! I just discovered your blog--the title list in your sidebar is a great resource. I'm looking for YA historical fiction with GLBT main characters in them--are there any you could point me to?

Also, I'm curious if you know of any novels where the GLBT character comes from a Muslim background or other conservative, religious backgrounds/cultures?


Lee Wind, M.Ed. said...

Hi Christy!

For historical, check out Hayden Thorne's "Icarus In Flight"

for a gay character from a conservative religious background, check out Alex Sanchez' "The God Box"

Happy Reading!


Anonymous said...

Oh wow--thank you so much!

Saints and Spinners said...

There are too many good books that have been challenged to pick just one, but I'll go ahead and choose the YA book that comes to mind most often-- Annie On My Mind, by Nancy Garden. It was such a groundbreaking book that ends on an upbeat note for the main characters. I think Garden tried to update the book with New Moon Rising, and while it was pretty good, it just didn't have the energy of Annie.

Lee, I've been meaning to ask, are you familiar with the short story anthology Am I Blue? Coming Out From the Silence, edited by Marion Dane Bauer. The title story is my favorite. I wonder if Tori Amos read the short story, because of the lines she sings in "Hey Jupiter": "Are you gay, are you blue?" The book came out in 1994, and the album Boys For Pele came out in 1996.

ReadWriteGo said...

I just got my hands on a copy of It's All Perfectly Normal and I think it's great. When I was a kid my parents handed me Where Did I Come From and What's Happening to Me? and neither went into the level of detail that It's Perfectly Normal did (down to the cartoon girl using a mirror to check out the "goods"). I'm saving the book for when my daughter is old enough to start asking questions. I do find it funny that somebody would ban a book about sex education as "too sexually explicit". What? What did you think it would be about?

I also just purchased "And Tango Makes Three" for my daughter when she had questions about gay relationships and "how do they get the babies?" - it was really helpful, and the fact that it's a true story sure does take the wind out of anybody's argument about homosexuality being unnatural.

shelburns said...

Congratulations again with your blog!

My favorite banned book is To Kill a Mockingbird.

Pat Schmatz said...

Olive's Ocean is banned? You've got to be kidding.

His Dark Materials are among my favorite banned books, along with To Kill A Mockingbird.

When I think of the books I read as a kid - mostly banned or bannable - that bounced my brain outside the box and let me know that a whole world was cookin that didn't follow The Rules...whew! Grateful for the books and the people who put them in my hands. Including the books that kinda freaked me out.

Anonymous said...

A parent very unwittingly and ironically challenged a book in my Children's Room this week because it named male genitalia and she felt it would be better placed in the teen section. I haven't read the book yet, so I can't say whether she's right or not, but I did have a hard time keeping a straight face. I was thinking, "Did the banned books display in the front of the library give you this idea or did you come up with it on your own?"

Thanks for speaking out for controversial books. Librarians who love intellectual freedom (and, sadly, not all of us do) are always comforted to hear that other people care about something we find ourselves having to defend from time-to-time.

The thing that boggles my mind about objections to And Tango Makes Three, by the way, is the fact that it's NONFICTION and it's not like the challengers are objecting to the facts. It's kind of like they're trying to censor reality, which... wow. Plus, how sweet is that book? How can anyone not fall in love with those penguins? A lot of my favorite books are ones that have been challenged.


I am a buyer for a kids clothing shop, that carries a few colorful books. Our most controversial and biggest seller was "Walter the Farting Dog"...teaching tolerance, and solution processing. It is now sold in many languages. I will have to track down "And Tango Makes Three"!...when we re-open next Spring.

Anonymous said...

My favorite banned book is a classic: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. :)