This week is Banned Books Week in which the American Library Association brings attention to the issue of banned or challenged books in American school or public libraries. In every library, there is (or is supposed to be) a process for objecting to books and asking for a review of the book (or media these days). School libraries and public library children’s or young adults’ collections experience most of the challenges. Many, but by no means all, are from conservative religious groups or individuals holding such views.
A separate issue is the objection to books or media in the school curriculum. Books may be challenged on that basis, but without a request that the book be banned from the school library. In most schools, it is a simple matter to request that your child be assigned a different book and sent elsewhere in the building during class time when the objectionable item is being used.
I did this with my kids when each had a book I could not approve assigned in elementary school. Neither was for religious reasons–both had to do with a situation similar to their former lives. “Triggered” was not yet an over-used buzz word back then, but that was the reason. I had immediate agreement from all involved and my kids did the same sort of project with a different book being read in a different classroom. After elementary school, I saw no reason to intervene.
Of these, Captain Underpants, to me, is merely tasteless, but then I’m not an 8 year old little boy. My son loved the first two books, but found the rest of them “stupid.” (He grew up!) I took Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo to be a picture book for grown-ups, so never found any reason for outrage. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is a classic among banned and challenged book. It is still on my TBR–I generally try to read one banned/challenged book each year so maybe for 2020 I’ll finally get to it.
Links to my reviews of some of 2018’s most frequently banned/challenged books, found here.
Please click on the book’s title to go to my review.
Looking for Alaska (scroll down for the review)
Here are some of my past Banned Book Weed posts