Today is the beginning of Banned Book Week, which runs until October 2nd.  This is a week to bring attention to violation of an American’s First Amendment right to write and read uncensored material.  There are hundreds of books every year that is either banned or challenged.  Some of the books you will find on these lists are surprising to say the least, and the reasons given are even more so.   I have included three examples here (the reasons were provided by various websites), and at the end of the post a list of the 2009 Banned and Challenged books.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear: Most parents of kids under 5 have seen Eric Carle’s art accompanying the book by Bill Martin. The Texas Board of Education banned the book, in January 2010, because it thought the book was written by the same Bill Martin who penned the non-children’s book “Ethical Marxism: The Categorical Imperative of Liberation.”

The book is challenged because it:

  • Contains profanity: In reaction to being smacked in the head by Tim Meeker as she tries to wrestle a letter away from him, Betsy Read shouts “You Little Bastard!”
  • Contains excessive violence: While observing the British army Tim Meeker experiences the horrific beheading of a slave.
  • Mentions alcohol consumption: The Meeker’s own a Tavern.
  • Contains unpatriotic views of the American Revolution: The Meeker’s are Anglican’s.

A parent in Bozeman, Montana objected to the inclusion of this book in his daughter’s middle school library collection, not for the content, which he found unobjectionable, but for the inclusion of the phrase “sex god” in the title. The Bozeman parent who brought the complaint felt that the term “sex god” could influence girls to enter relationships with older men that might result in statutory rape. The Bozeman High librarians chose not to replace the current copy of the book with a version entitled Confession of Georgia Nicolson.

After reading the list of banned book my local library carries, I actually laughed at some of the names.  I think some of those were banned strictly by their name.  A couple of my favorites were The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things and One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies.  I did find some books to add to my “To Read Pile”, including On The Bright Side, I’m Now The Girlfriend of a Sex God”.  I hope you look at the following link and find some books for your “To Read Pile”.  I am planning on reading at least one “Banned or Challenged book this week”, how about you?

Books Challenged and/or Banned – 2009-2010 (PDF)