September 22 marks the start of Banned Books Week. I was surprised when I mentioned it to an acquaintance, and she had never heard about books being banned.
It happens every year. There’s always someone out there very happy to tell everyone else what they can and can’t read.
This is a list of what was banned last year (from the above site):
- Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey .Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie.Reasons: Offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher. Reasons: Drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, suicide, unsuited for age group
- Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
- And Tango Makes Three, by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson.Reasons: Homosexuality, unsuited for age group
- The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini. Reasons: Homosexuality, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit
- Looking for Alaska, by John Green. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group
- Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz. Reasons: Unsuited for age group, violence
- The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls. Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit
- Beloved, by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence
Offensive language is the one that gets me. It’s hard to find movie that doesn’t have all of these elements. Yet, they don’t seem to get the same attention. It’s like having all of these things in a movie is accepted, but in a book it isn’t.
I was glad to have parents who let me read what I want (though my mother did steal my books because she wanted to read them, too). It opens the doors to a lot of different worlds and experiences. Don’t close them off.