The Banned Books Are Back for Their 30th Anniv. Either Run from Or Read ‘Em.

September 30 through October 6th is Banned Books Week.

I wrote about this two years ago; here are my thoughts.

Those books that are frequently challenged have ideas for which some young, formative minds are rarely or barely prepared.  For some people this type of censorship is a matter of questioning loose morals, open minds, and an interest in or inclination toward critical thinking.

Sometimes people feel threatened by books or topics that challenge or question their home spun convictions.  These books are not yet ready for primetime when it comes to young people, who are not yet sure of whom they are, their own convictions, or what they want to accomplish once they’re grown.  This, at least, according to parents.

What about when those classic stories are made into films and put into movie theaters?  You wonder: how much better do people respond to or accept “Of Mice and Man” or “The Scarlet Letter” or “To Kill a Mockingbird” as a film than a book, of if there is a remarkable difference?  It’s that great question that I could only speculate on; it’s worthy of a coffee table conversation.

Lauren Myracle is the author of many wildly popular books, which teen and tween girls just eat up, and which parents often seem to be bent on banning.

According to her, during an interview with ABC Radio, she observed, “It’s fear, swear to God.  Fear that turns into anger.  …They (parents) want to keep people wrapped in a bubble condom…”

Sometimes books are knocked for simple objections to profanity, or for frank portrayals of sex or sexuality, violence, or other reasons.  Reasons, which are unsuitable to the youngster’s age, or which clash with or confuse local communities’ standards.  By far the parents are the main objectors, unless you consider when it comes from an institution’s voice; then, it’s the school or its library.

“To Kill a Mockingbird”: Challenged in Eden Valley, MN (1977) and temporarily banned due to words “damn” and “whore lady” used in the novel. A resident had objected to the novel’s depiction of how blacks are treated by members of a racist white community in an Alabama town during the Depression.  The resident feared the book would upset black children reading it.

“Of Mice and Men”: Challenged in Greenville, SC (1977) by the Fourth Province of the Knights of the Ku Klux KIan; Vernon Verona Sherill, NY School District (1980); St. David, AZ (1981) and Tell City, IN (1982) due to “profanity and using God’s name in vain.”

The ALA has documented the voluminous reasons or rationales for challenging many of our world’s classics.

Here’s a video, from high schoolers, reminding us of why this censorship is at best or at beast silly.  All but two of the classics mentioned here, “Their Eyes Were Watching God” and “Catcher in the Rye,” have been made into big screen films.


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