Welcome to the Book Nook! The weekly thread for all book nerds on The Avocado.
This is the place to talk about books you’re currently reading, discuss genres, ask for recommendations, and post serious literary criticism.
Good day to you all! This week is Banned Book Week, where everyone gets to ban the books they dislike.
…Okay, I’ve been told it’s not that. It’s instead an initiative of the American Library Association to promote 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. It’s a noble cause, sure, but also vague enough to appear uncontroversial.
During Banned Books Week, the Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) publishes a list of the Top 10 Most Challenged Books in order to inform the public about censorship in libraries and schools. The lists are based on information from media stories and voluntary reports sent to OIF from communities across the U.S.
Anyway, banned is not the same as challenged. “Challenged” merely means that people tried to get a library or school or school library to get rid of a particular book for a particular reason. Which is definitely not a good thing, but given that the OIF tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020, this doesn’t seem like a whole lot. And since a part of the list is compiled from media stories, and we all know how reliable those are, take the list with a grain of salt.
Of the books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books:
- George by Alex Gino
Reasons: Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community”
- Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds
Reasons: Banned and challenged because of author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people
- All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now”
- Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Reasons: Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity
- The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author
- Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin
Reasons: Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience
- Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Reasons: Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students
- The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse
- The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Reasons: Challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message
As far as I’m aware, none of these books have actually been banned and can still be gotten in libraries and bookstores across the world.
So which of these books have you read? And are they as salacious as they appear to be?
I would like this thread to continue to be a NO GIF/YouTube/social media embed zone as much as possible. An occasional exception would be fine with me, but let us use our words as often as possible.