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Banned Books Week
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StellarStory
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Joined: 15 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 8:52 am    Post subject: Banned Books Week Reply with quote

Harry Potter, James and the Giant Peach, Captain Underpants; is your favorite book safe?

Banned Books Week
September 29–October 6, 2007
Free People Read Freely ®

http://www.ala.org/ala/oif/bannedbooksweek/bannedbooksweek.htm

"And Tango Makes Three" tops ALA's 2006 list
of most challenged books


CHICAGO – Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell’s award-winning "And Tango Makes Three," about two male penguins parenting an egg from a mixed-sex penguin couple, tops the list of most challenged books in 2006 by parents and administrators, due to the issues of homosexuality.

The list also features two books by author Toni Morrison. "The Bluest Eye" and "Beloved" are on the list due to sexual content and offensive language.

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) received a total of 546 challenges last year. A challenge is defined as a formal, written complaint, filed with a library or school, requesting that materials be removed because of content or appropriateness. Public libraries, schools and school libraries report the majority of challenges to OIF.

"The number of challenges reflects only incidents reported," said Judith F. Krug, director of the ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom. "For each reported challenge, four or five likely remain unreported."

The "10 Most Challenged Books of 2006" reflect a range of themes, and consist of the following titles:

* "And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;

* "Gossip Girls" series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

* "Alice" series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;

* "The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

* "The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

* "Scary Stories" series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;

* "Athletic Shorts" by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language.

* "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group

* "Beloved" by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;

* "The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.

Off the list this year, but on for several years past, are the "Catcher in the Rye" by J.D. Salinger, "Of Mice and Men" by John Steinbeck and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain.

For more information on book challenges and censorship, please visit the ALA Office of Intellectual Freedom’s Banned Books Web site at www.ala.org/bbooks

The Office for Intellectual Freedom is charged with implementing ALA policies concerning the concept of intellectual freedom as embodied in the Library Bill of Rights, the Association’s basic policy on free access to libraries and library materials. The goal of the office is to educate librarians and the general public about the nature and importance of intellectual freedom in libraries.
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Theodore
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trying to ban Harry Potter is going a bit too far imho - it's just a fantasy story, not an insidious plot to make everyone believe in magic - but children's books that are obviously just pro-sexuality (of either kind) propaganda are somewhat of a different matter. It's one thing to have crud like this in the adults area - it's another thing entirely to have kids reading it. You have to draw the line somewhere.

Nobody complains about the movie rating system preventing kids from watching R-rated content, I don't see why R-rated books should be any different - and if a library is partially funded by taxpayer money, the taxpayer should have a say as to what the library buys and displays.
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Morgan
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I find this kind of ridiculous. 'And Tango Makes Three' is a picture book for young children. The storyline is this: When two male penguins Silo and Roy attempt to hatch an egg-shaped rock, the zookeepers decide to put a fertilized egg in their cage. Soon after, they find the baby penguin Tango.

IMO, this has nothing to do anti-family or homosexuality. In reality, the male penguin actually hatches the egg. So, the penguins in this story are following their natural instinct. It's no different than real life.

I have also read several of the books on this list, and I did not consider them 'violent', and the language in them was not offensive. I cannot beleive that "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" and "Of Mice And Men" have been on this list. They are famous books that you are required to read in most public schools.

And I do agree with Theodore about Harry Potter. This much-loved series has not intention or result of convincing kids that magic is real. And even if it did, what bad could come of it?
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I will not fear or try to ban books. To me that's just ridiculous. I love books. No, not all books. Some I don't enjoy. Still, I would not have them banned or destroyed, ever.

There are MANY times I've been both happy and proud my libraries have books that some would see banned.
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seekingmyLord
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 2:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I am generally against banning and burning of books, I also find it quite helpful to be aware of what books others, with similar values, question in content before my daughter puts them into her bookbag.
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Calleigh
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except that once it goes into a school library, what is to stop someone from turning the questionable book into a "required reading"? When a book promotes homosexuality, or promiscuity, and yes, even witchcraft or anything else that goes directly against my beliefs, I wouldn't want that being "required reading." I do know that there have been schools that did require the kids to read Harry Potter.

Calleigh
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zozomom
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi all,
I was looking at my 12 yr olds Scholastic book order forms yesterday and was dismayed at the sheer volume of books with witchcratft, sexual, and horror themes.(there were also some good ones). Assuming that most parents here in this forum would be concerned about the movies their kids watch, why is the content of books held to a different standard? I can choose not to watch these movies or read these books. The difference is , it's our children!! Not us!!! Schools do need to more careful about that. As far as libraries are concerned, I was once told I didn't have the right to see what was checked out on my daughter's library card. (but she did tell me anyway). That seems ludicrous to me. We all have different values and preferences about what our children see but some of these more adult themes are being pushed on our children. However, we must be careful not to be too extreme or the books that will be banned may be books we hold dear.Maybe even the Bible.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I always seek to make up my own mind about materials. For instance, I had no particular interest in the Harry Potter series until I saw some folks were going nuts over it. I suspected the uproar was unfounded but there was no way to be sure without making up my own mind.

After reading the book, I was sure. I was also surprised it was such a good book. Now everyone in the family has enjoyed the series whereas without the uproar we would not have even bothered. So perhaps there is some value in this whole contested book thing after all. Perhaps I should hope to get a book published that is so controversial someday.

What surprises me is that some people get so outraged and fearful about books. If you don't like the book, don't give it to your kids or read it yourself. There are SO MANY wonderful books out there for you no matter what your tastes.

I don't know of any school that requires kids to read Harry Potter or any books about anything questionable but there may be some out there.

In our experiences, I found that the whole accelerated reader and required amount of time reading, nearly killed my kid's enjoyment of reading.

It is my firm belief that educators should seldom if ever require the reading of a particular book but rather let the kids pick and read materials that they either enjoy or which fit the subject area.

In sixth grade I did find it highly questionable that they required so many books about WW 2. That's an age that many kids are already depressed and the requirements seemed to pour on more possibly depressing material. I thought it unwise.

I require my kids read two books on our above their level, take a quiz if there is one at Bookadventure or other online sites, and do a book report twice a year. Everything else not related to their studies that they read is completely up to them.

With those accelerated readers, my daughter had to read one a month, then since she did so well, two and so on. At three I said no more to the school. She has no time to read for her own enjoyment. When is enough, enough for you people, I asked. As I'm a librarian, they didn't cause waves over it. I think this is ridiculous. It is also absolutely no work for the teachers which accounts for it's popularity.

The original list of Accelerated readers was meant to help the up the circulation books that didn't get checked out enough. That means that for the most part they were books kids didn't and weren't going to like. Now that the program has proved so popular and profitable there is a much wider list to choose from at least.
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Morgan
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 3:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

But don't all mothers, as parents, have the right to see which books their children are being subjected to and choose which ones they can and cannot read? Besides books that are required, which may be relevant to your child's education and graduation from college, you can pick and choose what books you order for them, which books they check out from the library with you, and what books they ask to read. You, as a mother, can tell them yes or tell them no. It all depends on what your and your child's beliefs are. When we pay attention to the reading levels and age ranges on these books, we can decide which are suitable for the children, and which ones are not.
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zozomom
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Right! If you have a child in the schools you can talk with the teachers and choose another book. They are usually good about that so we, as parents just have to be assertive that way.
Also, I agree with too much required reading killing the enjoyment of reading. Even the summer library reading programs , although well intentioned,can be a problem, as the kids read just to get candy or other silly trinkets. We have not read the Harry Potter books. I am always skeptical about books like these and actually have never enjoyed fantasy or sci fi books but was considering reading it and then approaching my daughter about it. But she really isn't into that stuff either and enjoys different types of books so she wasn't interested. Unfortunately, these books were made such a big deal of that the flip side is some kids are made fun of for not enjoying these books, which is not cool either. Why did schools and many teachers just assume all kids would love these?
Well, I think I better go start dinner. Have a great evening, afternoon, or morning, depending on where you are!
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Morgan wrote:
But don't all mothers, as parents, have the right to see which books their children are being subjected to and choose which ones they can and cannot read? Besides books that are required, which may be relevant to your child's education and graduation from college, you can pick and choose what books you order for them, which books they check out from the library with you, and what books they ask to read. You, as a mother, can tell them yes or tell them no. It all depends on what your and your child's beliefs are. When we pay attention to the reading levels and age ranges on these books, we can decide which are suitable for the children, and which ones are not.


I agree with you completely on this. Good post.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 4:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zozomom wrote:
Right! If you have a child in the schools you can talk with the teachers and choose another book. They are usually good about that so we, as parents just have to be assertive that way.
Also, I agree with too much required reading killing the enjoyment of reading. Even the summer library reading programs , although well intentioned,can be a problem, as the kids read just to get candy or other silly trinkets. We have not read the Harry Potter books. I am always skeptical about books like these and actually have never enjoyed fantasy or sci fi books but was considering reading it and then approaching my daughter about it. But she really isn't into that stuff either and enjoys different types of books so she wasn't interested. Unfortunately, these books were made such a big deal of that the flip side is some kids are made fun of for not enjoying these books, which is not cool either. Why did schools and many teachers just assume all kids would love these?
Well, I think I better go start dinner. Have a great evening, afternoon, or morning, depending on where you are!


I think the reason why Teachers and Librarians brought them out so was that that those HP books were seen as bringing reluctant readers into really enjoying books. They were so popular and still are that when asked about books for that age group they were among the first recommended.

I actually enjoyed sci fi and fantasy a great deal as a teen. It was my thing to read back then. After a while it all seems too much the same and I moved on to another genre. I still visit the really interesting new releases though.

No, it is not cool to make kids think something is wrong if they do not enjoy X thing book or no.

I recently went through all the books I'd been required to read and found not one of them was something I thought my kids HAD to read before they left high school. My husband who went to a different school did the same thing and reached the same conclusion.

There are two books I'm requiring cause I love them and think they speak to important issues in life. They are also enjoyable reads for me at least.

There are some who read to show how refined they are. I just like to enjoy books. With the right attitude you can learn so much from books, fiction or not.
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4given
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When my oldest son was in 3rd grade at ps (8yo), the Scary Stories books were pushed on his class around Halloween. One night, as I was telling him good night, he burst into tears and began telling me about the book. When I read through it and saw the illustrations, I could completely understand his fright. Pictures of bloody feet dangling from fireplaces, peoples faces melting off and so on. I brought it to the attention of the principal who felt that the books were inappropriate for primary school children and had them removed. But, because the publishers recommendations claimed the books were appropriate for ages 9 and up, the books were promptly placed back on the shelves. The next day, the librarian made it a point to let the class know that they would no longer be able to check out the books because Zane's mom had been so kind to point out that they were not suitable for 8 year olds. Wasn't that sweet Rolling Eyes

I do not think books should be banned, though. Every book has something offensive to someone out there. It is my responsibilty, as a parent, to protect my children.
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StellarStory
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 21, 2007 10:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

4given wrote:
When my oldest son was in 3rd grade at ps (8yo), the Scary Stories books were pushed on his class around Halloween. One night, as I was telling him good night, he burst into tears and began telling me about the book. When I read through it and saw the illustrations, I could completely understand his fright. Pictures of bloody feet dangling from fireplaces, peoples faces melting off and so on. I brought it to the attention of the principal who felt that the books were inappropriate for primary school children and had them removed. But, because the publishers recommendations claimed the books were appropriate for ages 9 and up, the books were promptly placed back on the shelves. The next day, the librarian made it a point to let the class know that they would no longer be able to check out the books because Zane's mom had been so kind to point out that they were not suitable for 8 year olds. Wasn't that sweet Rolling Eyes

I do not think books should be banned, though. Every book has something offensive to someone out there. It is my responsibilty, as a parent, to protect my children.


I agree with you bout it being a parent's responsibility.

Also I think you are right that every book has offensive to someone out there.

*nods a lot*

I think it's a shame that librarian tried to punish you and your child that way. That too was inappropriate, petty and mean of her, IMO.
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ncmom
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think a book should be banned but do you ever wonder what on earth was going through peoples heads when they wrote some of the stuff that is out there. I am very diligent about watching what my kids read and there are books they are not allowed to read that I am sure most other kids are allowed to read. My kids aren't even allowed to go to the library by themselves (and it is within walking distance of our home) because some of the material available for them to look at while wondering around is just atrocious. In my opinion though there is a difference between a book of literary value and pure smut that someone has had published just to see if they could do it. A lot of what comes out today is pure smut. The graphic "everything" leaves nothing to the imagination. I prefer (don't force but prefer) my kids stick to the classics that make them think about what they are reading and make their imagination design the images that are in the story. In fact our "school" library is composed almost entirely of books that belonged to my grandma and dad and they gave to us.
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