Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009: What YOU and YOUR GSA Can Do About It!

Okay, once again it's time to pay attention to all the books being challenged* in this country.

From the American Library Association, here's the top 10 most frequently challenged books for last year (2008):
  1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
    Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group
  2. His Dark Materials trilogy, by Philip Pullman
    Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence
  3. TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Lauren Myracle
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  4. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
    Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence
  5. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
    Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence
  6. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
    Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group
  7. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  8. Uncle Bobby's Wedding, by Sarah S. Brannen
    Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group
  9. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
    Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
  10. Flashcards of My Life, by Charise Mericle Harper
    Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Scorecard of our "issues" as a country of book banners:

Sex (6 out of 10)

Religion (4 out of 10)

Homosexuality (3 out of 10)

(yeah, clearly we're not that great at math...)

Two of the top 10 are picture books, "And Tango Makes Three" and "Uncle Bobby's Wedding." Neither of them have any sex or swearing in them, but as they "normalize" two dad parenting and gay marriage, some people want to keep OTHER people's kids from reading them.

So, what's the best response to all these efforts to stop other people from reading these books?



How about having a dramatic out loud reading of one (or both) of these banned Picture books as part of your GSA meeting this week?

See if your school library carries any of these top ten. Invite your school librarian (if your school is lucky enough to have one) to come in and join your club meeting, to talk about the GLBTQ books in the collection, and about book challenges and how they impact your school's collection.

Another cool thing to do is check out your local PUBLIC library's collection. Do THEY have these top 10? How many of them?

We'll be celebrating/honoring/lamenting/shouting about Banned Books Week for the rest of the week here at "I'm Here. I'm Queer. What the Hell do I Read?" So stop back and check out our exclusive challenged author roundtable, the cool interactive map of book challenges, and the interview I did with the Kid's Right To Read Project of the National Coalition Against Censorship!

And remember, like the button I've got on my T-shirt in the photo above says, the best response to book challenges is:

I Read Banned Books!

*While it's called "Banned Books Week" What the ALA and other organizations are really tracking are requests to remove books from libraries - to basically prevent other people from having access to specific books from those collections.


Karen Mahoney said...

I only just found your blog (thanks to the lovely Jo Knowles), this is such a cool place.

*puts feet up*

*sips tea* <---I'm a Brit. ;)


Clarissa Karpen said...

I have read and own His Dark Materials (read them when I was in 6th grade/junior high) and the Kite Runner...and I LOVE all 4 of them. I never knew that people out there really hated them that much! I guess i can "see" why when it comes to His Dark Materials...but Kiterunner?! Reallyy...

abbee lee said...

Wow, this is not good...

chris brown said...

Its a shame of what this country have come to god bless us all and may the lord protect us..

london said...

Bad news for my friends but not for me..