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Thursday, September 30, 2004

LawMom writes about Banned Book Week.

In honor of fine literature everywhere, go read a banned book. Some that I'll recommend:
  1. The Catcher in the Rye (the classic banned book)

  2. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret

  3. Anything by Judy Blume, if you like young adolescent fiction, which I do. Her books appear on the most challenged books list yearly, and she is one of the most challenged authors. I particularly like Iggie's House, Blubber, and Tiger Eyes.

  4. A Wrinkle in Time, which I can only imagine was challenged because it suggests that there may be life elsewhere in our universe, and does not attribute creation to God? Fact is, Madeline L'Engle is a remarkable author who, like C. S. Lewis, imbues her work with good old-fashioned Christian morality without coming out heavy-handed-ly and shoving it down the reader's throats. In the last book in the series begun by Wrinkle, titled A Swiftly Tilting Planet, the entire Murray family sings dona nobis pacem around the Thanksgiving dinner table, while they pray for peace.

  5. Any book with frank discussion of adolescent physical changes. This would include number 2, above, as well as the What's Happening to my Body? books.

  6. To Kill a Mockingbird, which I imagine is on the list because of its use of a particular ethnic slur. (Huckleberry Finn is on the list for that reason, too.)

Note a theme? Young adults, adolescents, children, are the ones whose literature is most affected by book challenges. Adults have the freedom to choose what to read and what to ignore, and the freedom to be as closed-minded as they wish. But children—children have such a small voice in these matters. Bless the American Library Association for recognizing that all books are worthy of being on library shelves, even those that parents may object to for ridiculous reasons.