My heart lays heavy.
Recently I was asked if I would be interested in being a part of a new group of
readers in the area that would preview books to see that they are appropriate for middle grade and teenage children. I liked the thought of that, I have done some of this proofing for friends in the past. As the information unfolded I discovered that this group would work at having books that they decided were deemed unsatisfactory for young eyes to be removed from the schools.
Visions of book burning swam before my eyes. This is when I realized there is a difference between book lovers, lovers of the written word – and readers.
There was a particular book that was already being sought out for removal I was told. A book filled with inappropriate language. I started to think what YA book could have caused such a stir… was it Hunger Games, Twilight, certainly we have moved beyond Harry Potter by now….
and then I was told the book’s title,
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
At this point my heart fell. Steinbeck. A Classic. Banned Books. Censorship.
I called a friend, a fellow book lover and someone I know who takes great care with what she has her children read (ages 7 – 14) to ask her thoughts on this and she was shocked. She said what I needed to hear at that moment, that it is up to us as parents of our younger children to help them choose books and to help them understand when a book may not be a fit for them due to language, sexual content… or EVEN why a book was written that way – perhaps it was the time period…. The answer is not to take the books away…
the answer is not censorship.
Of course, Of Mice and Men is not new to this battle. Published in 1937, this book is one of the most challenged books of the 21st century due to the vulgarity,offensive, and racist language within its pages. And while I am not a fan of the language – the story does cover such topics as friendship and bullying – BULLYING. A topic that is huge today.
Please chime in on this one. I would love to know your thoughts.
Ok… Ok… I am SUPER LATE today. I am up north in our cabin area and the little cafe that used to offer me great internet while I enjoyed their oatmeal no longer offers internet and perhaps I jinked it when I ordered an omelet instead of the usual but its too late to take back that order (although I wish I could). :razz: SO now, I am in Ely Minnesota where I will be meeting up with the group I will be spending the next 7 days with in the wilderness by canoe and tent, and no, I have not been hiding this “camping girl side of me” from you… quite honestly this is new and I am not sure if “Camping Girl” is in but hey…. let’s find out. :D
Here is the post I would have put up this morning if I could have:
My whole point of coming into the little café this morning in Silver Bay this morning was to use the internet and set up the final day for banned book week and prep the Sunday post for the Monday What Are You Reading. OK, OK, and people watch… but seriously that is all.
My experience of the cold pancake and not so great omelet could have been overlooked – but the fact that they no longer have internet (I know… WHO does that???) was quite disappointing as now I am left with a plate full of food I really do not want and no way to get my blog work done before I head into the wilderness.
My plan “B” is to type this up in word (as I am doing now) and hoping when I get to Ely later today I will be able to pop into a little café or something and finish this – connect the banned posts and set up the What Are You Reading.
So here I am typing away but soon to be done… I am going back to our cabin to watch Monty Pythons Meaning Of Life because I feel that is an appropriate start to a weeklong canoe and camping trip in the wilderness with a group of girls – some I know, some I do not… and feeling anxious and excited and concerned that I will have no connections to the outside world and thrilled that I will have no connection to the outside world. J Hope that makes sense…
I will be journaling the experience because of this blows (lol) this will be a one time deal and I need to remember that I did that once. If it rocks… or even semi rocks… I will be totally up to doing it again and feel like I can do all things… from tying up a blog post in a little no-internet café to traveling to Honduras, to reading books, to biking 150 miles, to enjoying plays and Vikings games…. Well… you get the point… I also need to remember that a trip where there is no internet and no cell phone coverage and the fact that I can do that 5 hours form my own front door is something kind of awesome as there are many parts of this world where “getting away from it all” requires a plane ticket and a guide.
Ok but I still need to talk about the BANNED! Yes this is the final day of our banned book week celebration here – but my challenge to you is that starting tomorrow is the real official Banned Book Week and I am hoping you have found through the links I have posted this week a great books to give a try to. Here are the final posts for the week:
Bex at An Armchair By The Sea writes an amazing post on the ridiculous reasons we ban books. Seriously, do not miss what she wrote! She is also having a giveaway you will not want to miss.
Jon at Rogue Scholar gets me… he really gets me. :D His review of Hunger Games and the crazy banning reasons around is fabulous. Go Jon Go!!!! Jon is also offering a giveaway so get over there! :D
My buddy Laurel at An Interior Journey has given her post to Perks Of Being a Wallflower. Please stop over and read her thoughts on this one.
And thats the week :D Thank you everyone so much for all your banned book week support!
As for what I am listening to on audio during the driving part of this trip is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince… because the two audio books I have been listening to lately for review have been DNF for various reasons I will explain at another time… and my camping trip book of choice is the second book in the City Of Bones series as after seeing the movie… I am back in on this deal J
Later awesome book lovers!
Good morning. Crazy day already. I came home at 1:30 am after seeing Wicked in the theater in the cities. Now I am staring at a table full of things to pack (or not) and for the life of me can not find my digital camera that has been in the same place for years. GAH. I leave this afternoon for our cabin and then off to Ely tomorrow to join the rest of the group to go on our canoe and camping trip. I feel….
Ok – enough of that for now though… lets talk banned books because we are around the corner and hitting the finish line of the event today and tomorrow. Today….
After seeing Wicked last night (banned book by the way!), I was thrilled to see that Erin from Quixotic Magpie wrote a post with a witch theme, The Witch Of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare. I loved the post and the crazy reasons this book was banned. Erin is also doing a giveaway!
Tracy at Uncharted Parent talks about book banning and The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian. She has some good thoughts about banning.
Florinda (love her!!!!) at the 3 R’s Blog shares her thoughts on censorship. Well worth the read.
Suey at It’s All About The Books writes on the book Thirteen Reasons Why ( a book I really enjoyed!)
Julia at Diary of A Book Nerd posted a great review of Looking For Alaska and has a giveaway going too! :D
I hope you check out these great posts today and I really hope that as this weekend is approaching fast that you pick up a banned book from the list and dig in to something good!
I will posts pics of Wicked in the morning. I have a lot to get moving on this morning. :D Have a great day!
Good morning! Thursday of the Banned Book Week event already and time has just flown by. I wish I could have been more active myself this year in this event but life just did not slow down this time around. Thankfully a whole lot of other awesome bloggers joined in and said that they would be talking up banned books this week.
Heather at Based On A True Story reviews The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Heather shares a great story about the actual banning of this book so be sure to pop over there and check out a great post and a really good book!
Tracy at Pen and Paper comes through with a second post this week on a harder look at banned books and sex scenes in YA books.
Kendal from Kinx’s Book Nook wrote an awesome post on Fahrenheit 451 with a giveaway! If you have not read this smoking book – you need to. I enjoyed it on audio for banned book week a couple of years ago and loved it!
Charlie at Fur Earwig has a fun blog (I was trapped for awhile looking around at some fun pictures). Charlie takes a closer look at the banned book, A Snow Falling On Cedars.
There will be more posts tomorrow. I had to write this one early this morning as I have a super full and fun day. I work today until 3 and then I will be driving with my friend Connie to the cities at the Orpheum theater where we will be having dinner and then seeing Wicked. (Insert major SSSQQQUUUEEEE here*). I have been waiting years to see this one and I am sooooooo excited!
On a fun side note that just came to me, I Googled if Wicked had ever been banned. I read it many years ago and it is basically a grown up version on The Wizard of Oz and this time the full story of Elphiba the Wicked Witch of The West. I loved the story line and thought thte concept was BRILLIANT but also remember a couple eye brow lifting racier parts when Elphiba is in College (maybe even sooner – I read it forever ago).
Anyhoo – the answer is yes! Wicked made the list in 2008-2009 for sexual content. Not really surprised there. This is not a book that I would recommend to any youngster. And while I enjoyed the book, it probably is not one I would ever read again – however the storyline itself which is what has made this a Broadway “must see” for years – is indeed something I would suggest to anyone who has the opportunity to go go go!!!
That’s it for today. Do me a favor and find yourself a banned book for the weekend and enjoy it as the official banned book week kicks off on Sunday!
Playing in the banned! *snort* Yes folks, I am here all week! :razz:
Ok seriously… you try and come up with puns each day for banned books week. :D
Today I want to direct you to over to Kelly at the Well-Read Redhead. She has written a great review on Flowers For Algernon by Daniel Keys.
I love the fact that this book is one that Kelly won last year during banned book week and now here it is, being reviewed for this years event. Please stop over and read this beautifully written review about an honest and emotional book.
This afternoon I will be going to our local library and putting up the banned book window. It is funny to think that my close relationship to our library started with banned book week. Three years ago the library had a gorgeous window display for banned books. I loved it and even checked out one of the books that was on “trial” for being banned.
Two years ago I excitedly went into the library to see what genius they were putting together for banned book week and there was nothing. When I inquired about the great display from the year before I was told that a lady who used to work their had put that together and they really had not had anyone that loved the window like that since. I think you can probably guess the rest of this story…. I asked to take over the window to set each months theme, of course including banned book week.
The window lead to my interest in the Friends Of The Library group, to my interest in being on the City board for the Library…. its all connected. :D
Anyhoo – this year not only is the window going banned – but we are taking mug shots in the library for banned book week. I love that!!! I am posting on our Brainerd Public Library Facebook page and Friends Of The Brainerd public library Facebook page the mug shots we took the other day of the Teen Library Council. I will go in today to do my mug shot… whatever book will I choose? :)
Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope you are enjoying our Banned Book week so far… the appetizer tot he true banned book week next week. My wish this week is that one of these posts about a banned book will cause you to pick up a banned book next week that you have not read, and enjoy! There are so many AWESOME books to choose from!
The incredible Tracy coming to us from Pen and Paper wrote a wonderful banned book post called Then and Now
Lisa at Lit and Life joins us this morning with her review of In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, a wonderful read and a banned book as well.
Ryan from Reading in Taiwan wrote a review post on the banned book, For Whom The Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemmingway.
I do hope you will take time to check out these posts and comment to these wonderful people who are participating in talking about banned books and censorship. It is important to know that these books have been removed from shelves in some schools, libraries and townships. While the written word survives and freedom of speech is still a real thing… we need to love and embrace these books and the right to choose to read what we want.
Have a super day everyone. Remember every comment here this week enters you in on a chance to win the super cool banned book mug I posted earlier this week – and some of the other posts on other blogs are offering giveaways as well.
*pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet
Nollop is a happy happy place where folks go along their merry way, minding their own business and helping a neighbor as needed. Nollop, named for the very famous (and very fictional!) Nevin Nollop, the creator of the pangram sentence, “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” On fact the town loves Nevin so much, they have the alphabet hanging in large tiles with the alphabet on them that hangs form a memorial statue of the famed man and have hung their for hundreds (maybe more!) years.
When one day, the “Z” drops from the statue the Island’s council calls an emergency meeting. Surely this a sign from Nevin from beyond the grave! A message quickly goes out across the land that the use of the letter “Z” is now forbidden as of midnight. No longer may people discuss the buzzing of bees, the fixing of a zipper, or visiting a zoo. To speak words containing this now letter that shall not be named, or writing it down will result in a series of punishments including up to public flogging and even jail time.
And so, Nollop moves on, after all it is only a “Z”, and it is possible to have a pretty (almost!) normal life without that letter.
But then… soon after…. the “Q drops. And again the council meets, and again a letter goes out now removing this letter as well, after all, it must be what Nevin wants…. and so to the wayside goes the ability to say or write things like quick or quiver or make the noise of “Quack!”.
And so it goes… letters continue to fall and the world spreads tot he public that the use of these letters are now forbidden… as the books continues, written in letters, the letters become harder and harder to read…. when the letter “D” drops – you can no longer say you knocked on a door , but instead on a portal… and so on and so on…
What will become of the town as people slip up when greeting others or write a now forbidden letter into a sentence?
What will become of Ella, who lives on Nollop and wants nothing more than to see the written word and language returned so once again we can freely express ourselves?
I adored this brilliant book.
I heard about Ella Minnow Pea a couple of years ago while in New York for the Book Expo. I thought it sounded brilliant. While Ella Minnow Pea is not a banned book, it talks about the banning of books. As letters continue to be eliminated, the Library in Nollop is closed…. too many words and you know every one of those books has to be a violation.
Letters sent to one another are read by a selected person to check for the offending letters – but no wait, this is not an invasion of privacy as the person hired to do this does not speak any English, therefore has no idea as to what he is reading.
Ella Minnow Pea is a wonderful reflection of what happens when we enforce censorship. We take away people’s rights to use the tools we have been given to communicate, to choose what we say or write and when we say it. As the books goes on and the letters continue to be eliminated it becomes harder and harder to understand and that… is exactly the point.
Check out Ella Minnow Pea. It’s smart, it’s fun… and it really makes you think about how one small right taken away (like the use of “Z”) seems like no big deal…. and then… one day…. it is another small no big deal (“Q”) and then another… and another…
I chose to review Ella Minnow Pea for Banned Book Week because it fits right in with what happens when we ban or challenge books to be removed from shelves due to our personal preference for what we consider to be proper. Imagine… if everyone had their way on banning and challenging books… think of the great reads we would have NEVER been allowed to read….. The Bible, Hunger Games, Fahrenheit 451, Little House On The Prairie, Narnia, Lord Of The Rings, Harry Potter, To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, SPEAK, Charlotte’s Web, Alice In Wonderland, The Giver, Wuthering Heights, Kite Runner, Perks Of Being a Wallflower, The Chocolate War, Beloved, Their Eyes Were Watching God, The Color Purple, The Bridge To Terabithia, Of Mice and Men, In True Blood, Song Of Solomon, Are You There God Its Me Margaret, Blubber, A Prayer For Owen Meany…
Good morning. Day two of Banned Book posts in preparation for next weeks official banned book week. I really enjoyed yesterdays post and I hope you did too. It’s surprising what can be considered a banned/challenged book.
Today, Stacy at My Novel Life shares her thoughts on a great read, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher. I love this book! She is also having a great giveaway with her post today so check it out!
I too am having a giveaway for all comments this week (one entry per comment on my posts) as well as a giveaway for those who participated by writing their own Banned Book Week Post (yes you can still sign up)and connected it here to this event. Each randomly chosen winner will receive this:
I too have a review coming up today on not a banned book but a book about banning and the hot mess that results in. I hope you pop back in to check it out.
My question to you today is what banned book are you an advocate for? The one you love so much you get up on your soap box and you are pushing it on your friends and family like book crack. Don’t even pretend you have not read one… I believe you have… you just may not know it was banned/challenged. :razz: Check out a sample list here. Stacy also has a list available on her post as well.
This week (yes, a week early :D ) myself and some fab book bloggers/ reviewers are going to write post and talk about Banned Books. I hope you will peek over here each morning where I will link the posts to banned books. Some of these posts throughout this week will be offering giveaways, and I will be offering the Banned Book Mug to one lucky commenter here throughout the week (each comment here this week will give you another entry) and another Banned Book Mug to one one of the participants who writes a post (not too late to sign up).
Here is what the mug looks like…. feel free to “ooooh and ahhhhhhh”
Matthew at The Absurb Word Nerd wrote a post called Getting The Banned Back Together.
I read Matthews post this morning and it is brilliant. Awesome really. It should be banned because I probably like it too much and probably smiled and nodded too much therefore causing me to spend too much time on it. :razz: But read it. Really it is brilliant!
There is supposed to be a second post up but I do not see it posted yet so I will link it later if it is posted. :D
This afternoon, I will be opening up a book that is not banned, but is about banning and censorship:
Ella Minnow Pea is a girl living happily on the fictional island of Nollop off the coast of South Carolina. Nollop was named after Nevin Nollop, author of the immortal pangram,* “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.” Now Ella finds herself acting to save her friends, family, and fellow citizens from the encroaching totalitarianism of the island’s Council, which has banned the use of certain letters of the alphabet as they fall from a memorial statue of Nevin Nollop. As the letters progressively drop from the statue they also disappear from the novel. The result is both a hilarious and moving story of one girl’s fight for freedom of expression, as well as a linguistic tour de force sure to delight word lovers everywhere.
*pangram: a sentence or phrase that includes all the letters of the alphabet
I heard about this book two years ago while in New York for BEA and found two copies of it last year at a book sale where I promptly snatched them both up. I have not read it yet, but think the idea behind it is brilliant.
What are you reading this week in preparation for banned book week OR what have you read that surprises you that is on the banned book list?
One of my favorite weeks to get behind each year is Banned Book Week. I love discussing banned books because many people have no idea what consists of a banned or challenged book.
The American Library Association promotes the freedom to choose or the freedom to express one’s opinions even if that opinion might be considered unorthodox or unpopular, and stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of those viewpoints to all who wish to read them. The following is a list of frequently asked questions on banned and challenged books:
What is the difference between a challenge or banning?
A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others. Due to the commitment of librarians, teachers, parents, students and other concerned citizens, most challenges are unsuccessful and most materials are retained in the school curriculum or library collection.
I have never said that every banned book is one I want to read – but I do like my freedom to choose. Some of the more interesting (to me) banned books would be pretty much all of your classics:
To Kill A Mockingbird: It was banned because it had the “N” word in it 48 times out of 281 pages. It was banned because of its racist implications toward the government. Many people denied being racist, so this novel was the key to helping racism getting acknowledged. Also book reviewers said the information was wrong and that the court system she had written about was wrong, they believed the court system was fair.
The Adventures Of Huckleberry Finn: It has always centered around the language of the book, although the “offending” language has changed in time. Originally, some people objected such “crude” words as “sweat.” They claim that perspiration was much less offensive and should have been used instead. Also, in 1902, the Brooklyn Public Library found offense with the novel because of the statement that “Huck not only itched but he scratched.”
Fahrenheit 451: banned for the book being about the burning (or banning) of books. No kidding.
The list goes on and on from Little Red Riding Hood, to Harry Potter, to Lord Of The Rings, To Charlotte’s Web, to Captain Underpants, to Hunger Games, to The Bible. If you are interested check out the list here to get a real feel for the books that have been banned or challenged over the years.
As in the past years, I will be hosting a Banned Book Event here at Book Journey and I would be thrilled if you would join me by writing a post during the week about a banned book you have read, about censorship…. This year will have a twist to it. I am going to be on a 7 day canoe and portage trip during banned book week and will be out of all computer and cell phone range. I hate to not do banned book week because I think it is an important week to share in the books we love that are challenged and banned each year – SO…. I am planning to run the Banned Book event a week early from September 15 through September 21. If you are interested in participating please fill out the short form below by this Saturday September 14th and I will be in contact with you to confirm your date. If you do not have a blog and wish to participate you can write a guest post and send it to me to be posted here. I hope we can once again make this a fun and educational Banned Book Week! If you need some ideas, here is a list of some of the banned/challenged books.
As a little bonus – I have two Banned Book Mugs I will be giving away – one to a blogger who writes a post and one to one of the comments on the posts during the week. I encourage you as well, if you can to have a giveaway on your blog.