Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Read Banned Books, but Not in Bethesda, MD 

So students in my home town are given a list of 100 "banned books" and told to read one. The list had everything from Where the Wild Things Are to American Psycho.

The assignment got pulled pretty quickly.
"People can cry censorship," this mom says, "but I am going to assert myself as I see fit to protect my child from premature exposure to inappropriate material."

Tauber grants that "it's difficult to raise children in these times, but we need to teach children to think. The children who went ahead and read these books on their own read 'Lord of the Flies,' 'Catcher in the Rye' and 'Beloved.' They're making good decisions and thinking about what offends people and why."

Nevermind that the offened parents can just tell their kids to read Where the Wild Things Are or A Wrinkle in Time or The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn or Where's Waldo.

No word on how many children went ahead and read the books without their parents' consent. I know I would have. And did. Here's the list (.pdf form) if you want to check how well you've done.

Story from Joanne Jacobs.

So ... I know I should know this, but, what exactly constitutes a "banned book"? I'm sure most books have been banned by someone somewhere for some reason ... so I'm wondering what this assignment refers to.
Depends on who you ask. Usually, you ask librarians and libertarians, and they define it as broadly as possible. I'd guess that's what was done to make this list. Any book that some parent somewhere questioned whether it belonged in the school library, whether grade school or high school, or on a summer reading list, gets considered "banned."

That's why you get Harry Potter, Toni Morrison, and Anastasia Krupnik on one list.
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