Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Well, you've probably guessed how I feel about censorship, being an aspiring journalist and all...

But wow, this is fascinating. Some of these aren't all that surprising--a book for kids about having two mommies would understandably upset quite a few people--but Harry Potter? I thought only my parents had beef with that one (in my american literature class in 6th grade we were assigned the philosopher's stone and my parents wrote the teacher to pull me out of it, so I spent the semester reading Rudyard Kipling (which, in retrospect, was probably of greater literary value). Not that that prevented me from reading the entire series. Anyway...)

Here's the list for this past decade:

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling 
2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor 
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier 
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell 
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck 
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou 
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz 
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman 
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren 
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky 
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers 
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris 
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey 
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain 
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison 
16. Forever, by Judy Blume 
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker 
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous 
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger 
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan 
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee 
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar 
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry 
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak 
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan 
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison 
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier 
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson 
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney 
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier 
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones 
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya 
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson 
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler 
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison 
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley 
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris 
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles 
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane 
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank 
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher 
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi 
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume 
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher 
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly 
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut 
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard 
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez 
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey 
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini 
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan 
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson 
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco 
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole 
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green 
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester 
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause 
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going 
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes 
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson 
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle 
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard 
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney 
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park 
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien 
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor 
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham 
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez 
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury 
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen 
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park 
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison 
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras 
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold 
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry 
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving 
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert 
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein 
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss 
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck 
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright 
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill 
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds 
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins 
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher 
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick 
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume 
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood 
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger 
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle 
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George 
92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar 
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard 
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine 
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix 
96. Grendel, by John Gardner 
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende 
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte 
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume 
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

Impressions? I've read several of these (chances are you have too) and I'm just wondering... Why do we bother to censor books? If anything, controversy only gives the work more prominence, gives the author more spotlight, and just proves how intolerant we are. I think perhaps censorship in schools could make some sense, at least for very graphic/violent/crude/sexually explicit books. It makes sense to protect young (and impressionable) minds from harm--although we really don't give teens much credit in this regard.

In the church we believe that we should seek for that which is uplifting and avoid polluting our minds with unnecessary filth. I don't think however that means we are supposed to shelter ourselves completely from the world. I read the Bluest Eye in high school, and yes it was pretty intense and delved into some very "uncomfortable" themes, but it gave me a glimpse of a world that I, as a very white girl growing up in France, could never have begun to understand otherwise.

Captain Underpants is just plain funny.

And why The Giver??

I read the His Dark Materials series as a teen and loved it. It's written by a virulent atheist and has very openly atheistic themes, but at the same time I thought it was fascinating because of its exploration of souls, angels, divinity, and especially the Fall. (Ok, actually, I need to be honest: I was a teenage girl, so really what I liked was the independent female protagonist, and the romance. Then, there was the other stuff.) In fact, I didn't think Pullman was off-base all that often. It seemed to me that his biggest issue with religion (which he seems to personify in the trilogy as the catholic church) was that it views the fall of Adam and Eve as bad, when in reality he sees it (metaphorically of course) as the beginning of humanity and a statement of independence. I don't think that's so far-fetched in relation to LDS doctrine... Anyway, I digress. My point is it didn't shake my faith, if anything it made me stronger because it made me think about what I believe.

To be honest, I just don't think censorship gets anything accomplished, and if anything it does quite the opposite of shutting up the targeted author.

Also, Toni Morrison has quite the track record. Three of her books are in that list! Racism must really freak people out.


0 grain(s) de sel:

Post a Comment