It’s National Library Week, and how better to celebrate than publish a list of banned books?
The American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom published their top 10 list of Most Banned and Challenged Books of 2014 today. I’ve read three of them (The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Persepolis, and And Tango Makes Three); how many have you read? I don’t know if I’ll get to the others on the list; I read a lot of different things for work, research, or pleasure, and already have a pile of books on my bedside table earmarked as “to read” (I’ll share that with you later this week).
And while the public library holds a wide spectrum and variety of books, not everything in the library is for everyone. We also need to consider the art of matching an appropriate book to the appropriate reader; part of a reference interview is asking enough questions to find out a reader’s interests, likes and reading level in order to help them find the right material for where they are in life. I probably wouldn’t suggest several of these titles for readers below High School age. (– I liken this to my feeling that I’ve totally missed the right time when I could have watched and enjoyed The Rocky Horror Picture Show –
I’m just too old and curmudgeonly now to find it at all enjoyable)
The article also writes, “The [ALA] notes that ‘attempts to remove books by authors of color and books with themes about issues concerning communities of color are disproportionately challenged and banned.’ ” This would be an interesting point to research (in my spare time, right?) but I wonder also if there is more representation of diverse voices in the publishing world? The titles I’ve read are a few years old, so I’m not sure. I also know there is a movement to encourage more authors from diverse backgrounds to write their stories.
You can read the full article here, but below is an excerpt of the list with descriptions from the article:
1. “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian,” by Sherman Alexie. Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2. “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi. Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3. “And Tango Makes Three,” Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4. “The Bluest Eye,” by Toni Morrison. Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5. “It’s Perfectly Normal,” by Robie Harris. Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6. “Saga,” by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples. Reasons: Anti-family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.
7. “The Kite Runner,” by Khaled Hosseini. Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
8. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” by Stephen Chbosky. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9. “A Stolen Life,” Jaycee Dugard. Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10. “Drama,” by Raina Telgemeier. Reasons: sexually explicit