A sampling of the banned and/or challenged books I have currently in my collection.
I’m a little over 24 hours late in saying this, but Happy Banned Books Week, everyone! As part of my observance of the event this year, I’ll be “live-blogging” through my re-read of Harper Lee’s To Kill A Mockingbird. I chose Mockingbird because I felt it was due a re-read, and also because it remains to this day one of the most frequently challenged classics in the US. Which just boggles my mind because I can’t see why people would be so averse to it. I for one enjoyed it when I read it for class in 6th grade, and didn’t think it inappropriate or vulgar. Yes, racism does feature prominently in the book. And yes, the n-word is used. But I think what upset parents are missing entirely is how the story portrays these terrible and offensive things. Mockingbird, I hope they realize, is not a pro-racism story. It doesn’t encourage children—or anyone else, for that matter—to go around slinging racial slurs. If anything, it encourages its readers to fight injustice, and to stand up for what is right, no matter how outnumbered you may be.
Anyways, I’ll save the rest of my thoughts on that issue for another post. For the time being, I just want to encourage all of my Stateside readers to at least learn more about literary censorship in America*, and to form their own convictions regarding the matter. (Good places to start: the Banned Books Week website; and the ALA, which has this whole section on banned & challenged books.) Personally, I don’t think censorship is ever the right course of action. Period. Doesn’t matter what good intentions went into it. Censorship is never the answer, and I really hope that the naysayers—like those behind this and this—come to understand that.
* For my readers residing elsewhere, I would highly recommend you look into censorship matters in your own countries. Censorship is a serious problem, no matter where you live.