Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Banned Book Week

We are in the middle of banned book week: September 27 to October 3. When I look at the banned book lists, there are books I don't care for, but I oppose book banning. It is only a step away from book burning and that should never happen.

Check out some of the lists.

2014 - 2015 Ten most banned books
This list contains The Giver by Lois Lowry and a The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, both books I love.

Banned and Challenged Classics
This list contains To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Call of the Wild by Jack London and many, many other books that I loved. Of course I didn't love The Call of the Wild until I was an adult. I had a tenth grade English teacher that I didn't respect, and he made us read it, so I didn't bother to pay attention to it in class. I wasn't always a good student.

Top ten lists by year
There are many, many great books on these lists. While some of the books are not ones I would want my preteen to read, they don't deserve to be banned.

People need to meet the right book at the right time, and if we ban them, no one can meet them. If our children do not become readers, books will not be read and ideas will not be exchanged.

Sherman Alexie, in his book Ten Little Indians, writes, "Corliss wondered what happens to a book that sits unread on a library shelf for thirty years. Can a book rightfully be called a book if it never gets read? If a tree falls in a forest and gets pulped to make paper for a book that never gets read, but there's nobody there to read it, does it make a sound?

'How many books never get checked out?' Corliss asked the librarian.
'Most of them,' she said."

Corliss had never once considered the fate of library books. She'd never wondered how many books go unread. She loved books. How could she not worry about the unread? She felt like a disorganized scholar, and inconsiderate lover, an abusive mother, and a cowardly soldier" (8).

I love how Sherman Alexie makes me think. Ten Little Indians is a short story collection that will make you think and question the world. He has a book on the banned book list. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian a book he wrote for young adults is on the list. My students enjoyed it.

Find a book on the banned book list that interests you and read it. Allow those books to make some noise. Let no tree be pulped in vain. :)

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