July 21, 2017

Books that some folks want to ban

One of the top 10 list of banned books in 2016.
One of the top 10 list of banned books in 2016.
Another book that some wanted banned in 2016.
Another book that some wanted banned in 2016.

Accomac County Public Schools pulled to novels considered “classics” from student libraries this week because a parent filed a formal complaint over language used in the books.

The books in question?  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird.  Both, the complaint said, contained too may uses of racial slurs in the text.

Accomac’s school board “temporarily suspended” use of the two novels and appoints a committee to review the books and make a recommendation to the superintendent.

Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, a story of racial turmoil in the South won a Pulitzer Prize in 1960 and is used widely in schools.

Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, first published  in the United Kingdom in 1885 and America in 1886 is considered a scathing satires on racism and other entrenched attitudes. Although the book’s theme is anti-racist, it comes under attack for its frequent use of racial epithets.

The Associated Press story about the actions in Accomac led me to take a look this week at the American Library Association’s Top 10 list of books challenged for 2016.

The list, with reasons for the challenges against libraries carrying or distributing the books:

Looking for Alaska by John Green.  Reasons? Offensive language, sexually explicit and unsuited for age groups;

Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James.  Reasons? Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other (“poorly written,” “concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it”);

I am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings.  Reasons? Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group;

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out by Susan Kuklin.  Reasons?  Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints”);

The curious incident of the dog in the night-time by Mark Haddon.  Reasons? Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other (“profanity and atheism”)”;

Holy Bible by various autors:  Reason? “Religious viewpoint”;

Fun Home: A Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel: Reasons?  Violence and other (“graphic images”);

Habibi by Craig Thompson.  Reasons?  Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group;

Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan by Jaeanette: Reasons? Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.;

Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan: Reasons: Homosexuality and other (“condones public displays of affection”).

Varied books, varied reasons for banning.

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