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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week Day 5

Today we continue our Banned Books Week coverage. Banned Books Week is a time to highlight the number of books that people try to remove from the shelves of classrooms and school and public libraries, and to celebrate how often these efforts fail. All week we'll be looking at what books people think you shouldn't be reading.

Today's books are just a few of the ones that were challenged or banned in 2012 and 2013.

    

Feed by M. T. Anderson. This book has one of the best first lines in fiction--"We went to the moon to have fun, but the moon turned out to completely suck." In this future world, everyone has a brain chip that allows you to surf the web and message your friends. Banner ads tell you what to think, do, but most importantly, buy. But when someone hacks into the Feed and turns it off, a population that's never thought for itself has no idea what to do. Challenged in Green County, VA, because the book is “trash” and “covered with the F-word.”

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. Ender is a video game whiz, and is sent to a prestigious military academy to play war simulation games. Ender's a star student, but life at school is lonely, and hard. After a teacher read parts out loud, a student and parent called it porn. The teacher at Schofield Middle School in Aiken, SC did not face charges.

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti. Sarah is looking for true love in her final year in high school and thinks she might have found it with popular Dave. Tobey wants a deeper relationship than the ones he's had and has his eyes on Sarah. When they're paired up in music class, they might just find what they're looking for. Unsuccessfully challenged at the Helen Matthes Library in Effingham, IL for being too explicit.

    

Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford. Carter is starting high school and like many high school boys, his thoughts are filled with girls, girls, and girls. It's made worse by his ADD. And, of course, once he gets a girl, he quickly screws it up. Unsuccessfully challenged at Broken Arrow, OK middle school libraries for being "vulgar, vulgar, vulgar."

Totally Joe by James Howe. Joe has to write an alphabiography (something about himself for every letter of the alphabet). This shows us a school year in which the 12-year-old has to deal with his sexuality. He's always known he's gay, but suddenly, it's a thing, except for most of the people in his life, it really isn't a big deal. It was marked for removal in the Davis, UT school district because parents might find it objectionable.

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow. Lydia and Julie want to be popular when they start junior high, so they decide to do some research now-- by observing the popular girls at their school, they'll learn their secret, right? Of course, it all goes hilariously wrong. Check-out was restricted to 5th-graders only at Prossar, WA elementary school libraries because Lydia only has a mother and Julie has two dads.

    

The Body of Christopher Creed by Carol Plum-Ucci. When a bullied boy disappears, did he run away, commit suicide, or was he murdered? When another outcast is blamed for the murder, Torey (one of Chris Creed's tormentors), the suspect, and his girlfriend (and Torey's childhood friend) try to find the truth about what happened. Unsuccessfully challenged in Appleton, WI schools (of which I am a sometimes proud graduate) for references to suicide and sex.

The Complete Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi. This graphic novel autobiography follows Satrapi's childhood in Tehran after the overthrow to the Shah, her schooling in Europe, her return to Iran, and her eventual emigration. Temporarily pulled from all Chicago public schools for "graphic illustrations and language." It was only reinstated after massive student-led protests.

Romeo and Juliet (No Fear Shakespeare) by William Shakespeare. This is Shakespeare's text side-by-side with a modern-day translation. This was challenged in Libery, SC middle school classrooms because of sexual content.

What are your favorite banned books?

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