oh and DKM – her food, crochet, knitting and stuff

Pounce and The Right to Read

DK is Pouncing to Taj Mahal


Celebrating the Freedom to Read

Did you know September 27th is the first day of Banned Book Week?  From the ALA “BBW celebrates the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinion even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints to all who wish to read them. After all, intellectual freedom can exist only where these two essential conditions are met.”

Books that people have tried to ban or have been banned this year include:

Steinbeck, John. Of Mice and Men. Challenged at the Newton, Iowa High School (2007) because of concerns about profanity and the portrayal of Jesus Christ. Newton High School has required students to read the book since at least the early 1980s. In neighboring Des Moines, it is on the recommended reading list for ninth-grade English, and it is used for some special education students in the eleventh and twelfth grades. Retained in the Olathe, Kans. ninth grade curriculum (2007) despite a parent calling the novel a “worthless, profanity-riddled book” which is “derogatory towards African Americans, women, and the developmentally disabled.”

Hosseini, Khaled. The Kite Runner.Challenged as appropriate study in tenth-grade honors English class at Freedom High School in Morganton, N.C. (2008) because the novel depicts a sodomy rape in graphic detail and uses vulgar language.

Morrison, Toni. BelovedPulled from the senior Advanced Placement (AP) English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, Ky. (2007) because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted the inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex. The principal ordered teachers to start over with the The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in preparation for upcoming AP exams. Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho School District (2007). Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them.

Lee, Harper. To Kill a Mockingbird. Retained in the English curriculum by the Cherry Hill, N.J. Board of Education (2007). A resident had objected to the novel’s depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression. The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it.

Guterson, David. Snow Falling on CedarsChallenged in the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho School District (2007). Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them.


19 responses

  1. Cats are sure wierd sometimes …

    27-September-2008 at 1:25 am

  2. In Vancouver, shortly before the Woman worked at that library, Green Eggs and Ham was challenged. After all, what child should be subjected to

    “Could you Would you with a Goat?”

    The Woman had to get permission to read Heart of Darkness in her Honors English class.

    We fought to keep Madonna’s book in the library in the reference system–supposedly because kids shouldn’t be subjected to those pictures and words, but the parents objecting to them had them on billboards that they picked the library with with their children with them… sigh. ?!

    Librarians are sometimes the bravest people in the world and probably the most overlooked in the importance of what they do.

    27-September-2008 at 1:57 am

  3. I didn’t know we had a banned book week. Thanks for the info. I’m totally for freedom of speech and freedom of information.

    I like your new look.

    Skittles, The Huntress

    27-September-2008 at 2:02 am

  4. I didn’t know about Banned Book Week, either. It was a very interesting post. I remember one of the parents fighting To Kill a Mockingbird being in the curriculum, because of the discussion of rape. Lord of the Flies was also challenged. I would have thought trying to ban a book would make the ‘young and impressionable’ more likely to seek it out for themselves anyway.

    27-September-2008 at 3:00 am

  5. Everyone should be allowed to make their own choices, especially when it comes to books and reading. I wish censorship was banned everywhere, especially from the public medias …and TV and newspapers are the most censored media I know, but I digress…

    Sophia has a very concentrated expression… is it the colours?

    27-September-2008 at 4:44 am

  6. Good pouncing Sophia – those squiggles need a tough paw to keep them in line! Thanks for the post about Banned Book Week – our Mum likes that idea of people making their own choices about what to read, so it was interesting to see what had happened around some ‘classic books’.


    Gypsy & Tasha

    27-September-2008 at 10:22 am

  7. Like the new look! Dad reads Neil Gaiman’s blog and he had an interesting post about Banned Book Week (http://journal.neilgaiman.com/2008/09/typing-clunky.html). The arguments against books are often so silly, and only make people seek them out that mush more.

    27-September-2008 at 10:27 am

  8. Everyone should be allowed to make their own choices – especially with the books that they choose to read!
    Nice pounce Sophia!

    27-September-2008 at 10:30 am

  9. My mom has always been against censorship, especially when it came to books. People should be allowed to choose and read whatever they want and make their own decisions based on the reading. She couldn’t believe it when people wanted to ban the Harry Potter books!

    27-September-2008 at 11:57 am

  10. Thank you DKM and Sophia for this post!
    4 of 5 of the books are some of my favorites.
    I’m always so confused by these parents who don’t understand the power and knowledge one gains from a book (or maybe that’s exactly what they are afraid of…). It’s imperative for true literature, reflections of the world, to remain in our schools. Toni Morrison is among my favorite authors.

    Hey Sophia: You gonna pounce over to The Fillmore to see Taj Mahal when he’s there?

    27-September-2008 at 12:30 pm

  11. I am for the freedom to read! And against censorship!

    27-September-2008 at 12:35 pm

  12. Oh Sophia,that looks like a pawsome squiggle!!! POUNCE!!
    Put me in with those against censorship!!!!!!!!

    Purrs Mickey

    27-September-2008 at 5:57 pm

  13. Some parents want to ban the books or not allow their children to read it because they don’t want to have certain conversations with their children. No censorship will ever stop human curiosity..

    27-September-2008 at 10:21 pm

  14. If I ever get around to writing a book, I think it would be cool to have it “banned.” Maybe they can ban my CD as the “devil’s music.” You can’t buy publicity like that ;)

    On a happier note, it was an absolutely beautiful day in the city today. Clear, warm, and strangely quiet.

    27-September-2008 at 11:41 pm

  15. Way to go Sophia, you are THE pouncer. Just don’t tell Gree I said that. ;)
    I read banned books. Love ’em. Thanks for telling us about Banned Book Week. I think I’ll go read a banned book or two to celebrate.

    28-September-2008 at 12:17 am

  16. My mom is DEFINITELY in favor of the freedom to read! She had to read most of those books in high school and learned a lot about human nature and culture because of them. She’s one of “those” Christians but believes that Life can’t be censored. It happens anyway, doesn’t it?

    Sophia, I really like your squiggle. I need to get my mom to crochet me one!

    28-September-2008 at 12:30 am

  17. To Kill A Mockingbird? Are they totally freaking NUTS. That should be required reading everywhere. Mom read it when she was 11 and from that gained her understanding of the stupidity of racism. It is mom’s FAVORITE!. Atticus Finsh is her hero. (especially played by Gregory Peck)


    28-September-2008 at 12:49 am

  18. banning books I’ve never understood the reason except fear. People can be so strange. If your ideas can’t stand up to being challenged then they aren’t good ideas. Books challenge us and teach us and make us think. Too bad more people don’t read, read, read.

    You would have thought Hitler would give banning books a bad name, but obviously not.


    28-September-2008 at 6:07 pm

  19. Hey sophia luv the squiggle ~

    28-September-2008 at 6:07 pm

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