Banned Books Week 2020 starts today and lasts through October 3.
Since 2014, I have participated in the Banned Books Week Virtual Readout (which, by the way, can be done anytime — not just during BBW). In 2019, I read from The Hate U Give (here’s the recording and my post). In 2018, I read from And Tango Makes Three (here’s the recording and my post). In 2017, I read from I Am Jazz (here’s the recording and my post). In 2016, I read from Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out (here’s the recording and my post). In 2015, I read from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time (here’s the recording and my post). In 2014, I read from Captain Underpants and the Big, Bad Battle of the Bionic Booger Boy (here’s the recording).
This year, I am reading from A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo. The American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom says it “tracked 377 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2019, targeting 566 books.”
Of the top 10, this book was number three. The ALA says it was “challenged and vandalized for LGBTQIA+ content and political viewpoints, for concerns that it is ‘designed to pollute the morals of its readers,’ and for not including a content warning.”
Here’s my readout:
I found this book charming. And its reminder that we can change things in our world by voting is the most relevant message possible for this time in our country’s history.
Have you read any of the 10 challenged books? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Wife of one, Mom of two, Friend of many. My pronouns are she/her/hers.
Carol Cassara says
the whole concept of banning books horrifies me. Just horrifies me.
Paula Kiger says
Me too, Carol. And it’s important to note that it isn’t always an outright “ban.” It may be an effort on the part of a school’s administration to “not suggest” a certain book or to in some other way limit access. We have to be vigilant.
George by Alex Gino
Reasons: challenged, banned, restricted, and hidden to avoid controversy….because schools and libraries should not “put books in a child’s hand that require discussion…”
Really? I thought that was exactly the kinds of books we should all read.
Paula Kiger says
The thing is (just my opinion) — some people are threatened that letting students discuss topics adults aren’t comfortable with will somehow “give them ideas.” Kids have ideas, of course, and books are an incredible opportunity to help them explore those ideas and learn more about their world.
Alana Mautone (@RamblinGarden) says
Of the 2019 entries, I’ve read onlyThe Handmaid’s Tale. This year I read the sequel. Of previous years’ entries I read the first chapter of “The Hate U Give” not long after George Floyd’s murder and that first chapter was so emotional for me that I actually abandoned the book, somewhat as if I had touched a red hot stove. This means, of course, that I need to return to it because that type of power demands I finish. I’ve also read “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time” (excellent) and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” (also excellent).
Paula Kiger (Big Green Pen) says
Hi Alana. Of the 2019 challenged books, I’ve read “Beyond Magenta,” “Marlon Bundo” (obviously), “I Am Jazz,” “The Handmaid’s Tale” (a zillion years ago), some of the Harry Potter series and “And Tango Makes Three.” I definitely read “Curious Incident” – there was a HUGE kerfuffle at my son’s school when it was “removed” as required summer reading. And I read “The Hate U Give” for last year’s readout. I definitely definitely understand the emotions it elicited in you but I do encourage you to get back to it. It was so good.