For more information on Banned Book Week and banned books in general, see this site:
Cheesy is as Cheesy Does
(A ridiculous playwright by Kristin Aragon)
<Librarian (only doing her job)>STOP! You can't read that!
<Miffi>I can't read what? Thirty Steps from Red?
<Librarian>That's right ma'am. Our public library voted to ban that book. It shouldn't even be in the database anymore.
<Miffi>I'm Twenty. Four. Years old. This is a public library, right?
<Miffi>And someone else made the decision to tell me what I was allowed to read?
<Librarian>Well, it's not that simple. What if a child had checked out that book?
<Miffi>We've carded people for tobacco, alcohol, lottery tickets, why not a book? Please don't give me a speech on all the reasons this book has been removed from this library. I'm sure I already know them equally as well as you, but when tax payers fund a building such as a library, the government cannot censor what we read. Parents can censor their children's reading and should be aware of it, but you ma'am, can't tell me I can check out Dante's Inferno but not some smexy love story because I just broke up with my boyfriend.
<Librarian>*Small smile on her face* No, I can't. Which is why I'm loaning you the copy I keep in my purse.
They walk to Librarian's desk where she pulls out her purse and several copies of the wanted book sit quietly awaiting someone to devour them. Librarian reaches in and pulls a brand new copy out. Handing it to the young lady in front of her, Librarian says, "I've left the single book in our system because I think censorship is wrong. I pass the books out for free hoping women like you will stand up to the Powers That Be and make a change. Good, Bad, or Indifferent... it is up to a grown individual or a guardian to censor what they read. Not me."
Obviously, I'm not a playwright and I'm sure you're all sighing in relief right now. I'm also not very clever when trying to disguise things...you know what I mean. But the story is obvious.
Every year at this time, the book community comes together to post its stance on Book Banning. Technically, in the United States, there is truly not much Book Banning, but there is a big, ginormous amount of Book Challenging. There are places where such things get sticky, such as in school libraries. The important thing for you to take away from this event is as an adult, you always have the right to read what you want. I've heard examples of certain libraries banning the book I mentioned above, but having to reshelve it because they were having to order it from other libraries so much. THIS. IS. YOUR. RIGHT. Simple & True.
School libraries are different. How many of you want Fifty Shades of Grey stocked in any of your high school libraries? Not me. I don't want a lot of the books I read shelved in the libraries, but then again, I'm a forty year old adult. If it were only that simple. Then there's the line of when is it too young to read Are You There God: It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume? At what point do we shelve the Twilight Saga? Or are the Hunger Games too violent for school libraries to carry? Those are questions that have to be talked about between families, they should be made between school boards and parenting committees.
My oldest always read exactly what I did from the time she turned thirteen. I'll be honest, she read several of Ellen Hopkins's books which are always on the banned/challenged lists that I didn't read because I don't care for verse. We bonded over the books we read. I knew she wasn't taking any crazy immoral lessons from the books. BECAUSE we talked. Besides, she never really wanted to be a vampire anyway.
My youngest prefers tragic, life-altering books. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, she's read twice and seen the movie twice. I've read and seen it once. John Green can spin a story of heartache and destruction and make people laugh at the same time. How does that even work? I don't read many of these books, my heart's too fragile. But as long as she's reading in her age range and TALKING to me about the books, then I'm okay. She's had a few questions along the boy/girl line (she's nearly 14), so we talk those out. I often find when she comes to me with questions, the talks none of us really want to have becomes much easier because both sides are ready to listen.
I always like to give the past years most banned/challenged books. I usually look for the most banned/challenged current books. All the classics have been banned for something. (On a side note, children grow up and they go to college where parents have no say over the books their professors assign...what a trip!)
2014 Most Banned/Challenged Popular Titles
The Perks of Being a Wildflower by Stephen Chbosky
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Middle School Survival Guide by Arlene Erlbach
Looking for Alaska by John Greene (My Favorite Author)
Elanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (Um... Seriously?)
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson (Amazing Book)
Betrayed (House of Nights Series) by Kristin and P.C. Cast
Again, I only named a few I thought you might recognize. Yes, there are many, many more and sometimes when you read the reasons they are challenged, all you can do is laugh. So, my friends, I encourage you to research. Use this link: http://www.ala.org/bbooks/bannedbooksweek
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