Banned books

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by flutterby, Oct 2, 2009.

  1. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    I'd like to preface this by saying that to me this is not a political or religious or any other kind of issue along those lines. So, I would like to not see this thread go in that direction.

    difficult child told me they had a session in the library today about banned books. They discussed the books that were "bad" (difficult child's term) and wanted the kids feedback on why they thought those certain books were banned, and their opinion of it. An example is, the Twilight Series was banned.

    First of all, I must be really naive because I thought banning books went out decades ago. I realize that school libraries have limited space and they can't accommodate every book, but outright banning books that are written for teens.... This is high school. Like I said, I must be really naive.

    Second, I'm not sure if this discussion was to get the kids to think intellectually, or if it was to persuade them that these books are bad, amoral, what have you. And it bothers me.

    I guess I'm going to have to call the school Monday and find out what the point of that discussion was because difficult child isn't sure and she sat through it.
  2. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    The only ones I've heard of being banned in our schools are the ones pertaining to suicide, violence (as in rape or school shootings in a light that could promote it), discrimination (again, a book written that could promote it, not discuss history or why it is wrong), drugs, and things like that. Books that I would not want my son to read anyway. difficult child has read some of the book you mentioned. Admittedly, I am not very familiar with it but I remember when he told me about it, I raised my eyebrows but didn't say anything.
  3. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    The books she mentioned didn't pertain to any of those things you mentioned.
  4. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Banning books in schools is much more prevalent today than it was forty or fifty years ago.

    I was an extremely advanced reader and I can remember my mother going down to the school board and doing paperwork to allow me access to the books set aside for considerably older students.

    I read 'Catcher in the Rye' and "Huckleberry Finn", etc., as a young child, and read 'To Kill a Mockingbird" at about that age as well.

    I doubt you could find those in any elementary school library in this day and age.

    There is a different socio-political environment in the America of today which is all I am going to say on the subject.

    in my humble opinion, it is the parents' decision as to what books they allow their children to read. NO outside entity should have the authority to control access to information.
  5. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I don't know that we can have this discussion without it being political or religious. There are obvious religious undertones for wanting to ban such books as "Twilight" or "Harry Potter". in my humble opinion, it's small minded and shows that people aren't as strong in their beliefs as they profess to be. If what they believe is so correct, and their relationships with their children are so good, why worry about how their child will interpret a book? Certainly they should feel good enough about their children's beliefs to not worry that reading a book is going to turn them to the dark side. If their child's religious or moral beliefs are so fragile, they have a lot more than a book to worry about.

    Somehow I never got to read any Mark Twain when I was young. I do remember from time to time throughout my life that Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn have been put on banned books lists. I was watching a show about Twain a while back, and finally read Huckleberry Finn. At first I was quite bothered by that word, especially at the number of times that it was used. But it made me think out why people would want to ban the book instead of using it as a tool to show how far we had come. After all, Twain was quite the civil libertarian in his day, and we would never tolerate such language today. What I ended up deciding was that Tom Sawyer was a difficult child and I was glad I didn't know him because I would have had a hard time with his tall tales. The use of that word didn't bother me, it made me think about a sensitive subject in ways I hadn't before - because my personal belief system is strong enough to not be turned to the dark side by a book with that word used repeatedly in it.
  6. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Hmmm....not sure then- I would hope that by high school a kid could read different political views, learn about different religions, science vs religion theories, etc. If these were the types of books banned, I might skip the school and call the school board to ask about it. In college they encourage conversations like that- not try to hide them.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    After reading Witz's response, if the books are about religous controversies, I think there is NO WAY to keep everything off the shelves that could possibly offend people of any religion. Parents have a right to teach their preferred religion to their kids, but they also need to teach the kid why certain things are important in that particular religion and why they prefer the child not to do certain things, or read certain books or whatever if it's that important to them. But they don't have a right to expect these things to "disappear", in my humble opinion. The child has to grow up and ultimately choose for themselves anyway. If they are in public school they should be exposed to multi-cultural things.
  8. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    What concerns me most - at this moment - is what was the point of the discussion at school? Because if they are trying to persuade my child that X, Y, Z are "bad", we are going to have issues.

    I guess I don't see it as a political or religious issue, even if that might be the reason behind banning books. I see it as an intellectual issue.

    We read "To Kill a Mockingbird" in 11th grade English class and wrote an essay on it. We studied Mark Twain starting in middle school.

    Like I said...really naive.
  9. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    And for the record, assigned reading for difficult child's 9th grade English class is "Speak". Really good book about a girl who was raped. I guess I'm confused by the inconsistency.
  10. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I don't get it without knowing what the banned books were about. Were they political or religious? I am sure that anything promoting communism would not have been allowed when I was a kid. But I can't see anything political being banned these days- maybe I'm naive about what is going on in schools. LOL!
  11. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Ok. Another book difficult child mentioned (she didn't know the title) was about two male penguins who weren't interested in a mate. And they were asked why they thought that book was banned.

    Meanwhile, they have a Gay/Lesbian/Transgendered group (sorry - brain isn't working and I can't remember the initials used) that meets every week. Right across from the library.

    It just doesn't make sense to me.
  12. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    :rofl: :rofl: :rofl: I get it- if teens aren't reading about homosexuality, they will be heterosexual, grow up to get married, and have 2.5 kids with a white picket fence. (This is assuming of course that if a penguin doesn't want a mate to hang with, the penguin MUST be homosexual.)

    If that's how they think, I'd be a little worried about how that "support group" is being steered- that can lead a kid to suicide or drugs.

    That reminds me of hearing about people who thought the Spongebob commercial should be banned. Ok, I digress- maybe I'm getting too opinionated and leading the thread where you didn't want it to go.

    Do they have any books about psychology- in the area of paranoia? Maybe you should drop one off as a contribution.
  13. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    September 26th thru October 3rd is Banned Book Week.That is most likely why the subject was discussed in the library.

    Do your children go to a private school? I can't imagine a popular series like Twilight being banned in a public high school. I'm wondering if the Teacher-Librarian talked about how the book had been banned in some schools and wanted to know how the students felt about it. It is hard for kids to imagine being denied access to certain books or ideas. It's a difficult concept for most Westereners.

    Yes, parents, and other community members, at times, try to get a book, or books, banned. Harry Potter has been targeted many times because it "promotes witchcraft". I've had several students ask me if I had Twilight in the school's library collection. I am the librarian at an elementary school and it is not appropriate for the vast majority of elementary school children. Most are attracted to it for the vampire theme, and think it is going to be more of a horror novel like the Goosebumps series.
  14. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    Dazed, this is public school.
  15. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

  16. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    I'm thinking this was most likely a discussion about the concept of book banning during Banned Book week. . To illustrate, and to make it relevant, to the students, the wildly popular Twilight series was used as an example.

    Guess it didn't work for difficult child. Perhaps it should have been framed better. I know the majority of librarians are strident anti-banning of just about anything. Especially for high schools students.
  17. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I was thinking that maybe it was banned book week. Likely the idea behind the lesson was to help open the students' eyes to books in a new way. To help them see what was banned and what wasn't and to figure out WHY they were banned.

    I am troubled by the thought that the teachers and librarian were so ineffective that the students didn't know the point of the lesson. THAT to me is as big a problem as the topic of book banning.

    I DO think you need to go speak to the school. More about the way the topic was handled than for the topic itself. I am just FLOORED that the students didn't know the point of the topic. Just floored.

    And they wonder why Johnny can't read. Sigh.
  18. flutterby

    flutterby Fly away!

    It may not be all the students didn't understand. It may be just difficult child. She may have missed the point completely. That wouldn't surprise me at all. I often have to explain things a few times before she gets it.

    So, I think I'm going to meet with the librarian and see if she can pull her out of study hall to go over what was meant by the discussion. Because right now difficult child is seriously miffed over the whole thing.

    I'm also going to show her the link Dazed provided. Thanks so much, Dazed, for explaining that to me. :)
  19. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    I looked at the site, and I get it. Why didn't they give the parents a heads' up, though? I would be all up in their face if I thought a public school or public library was banning books. They didn't even send a note home or some sort of schoolwork to be companion to this? How bizarre!

    I remember several years ago I had gotten on some sort of list that had to do with that "Dove" program to make girls feel better about themselves. I like the idea. Girls shouldn't think that they have to look like a photoshopped model to feel good about themselves. Anyway, it was really in it's infancy, and I got a call from someone who seemed like a grass roots movement poll. This sweet sweet woman asked me if I was upset by television programs and should programs that are rated above PG-13 be banned to protect our children? I told her "no". She was genuinely shocked! "Really?" I told her if she didn't like adult things on tv, then she shouldn't watch it and she should make sure her kids didn't watch it either. For crying out loud, why should I deprive myself of the programs I like because some dimwit can't figure out how to use the V-chip on their tv?

    The soapbox is now available...
  20. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Do I come from a different era or what??

    I don't recall banned books ever being an issue in our school libraries when I grew up. And we had a wide variety of subjects in there. Of course no school library is big enough to accomedatef every book out there......but ours had a wide variety.....don't recall any popular books ever being banned.

    I have an issue with them banning any book. There is no need for a school library to "ban" anything. Simply don't buy it and leave it at that.

    I read a book in hs that I can't recall the title.....but OMG it was one powerful book talking about poverty in the big city, gang life, ect......just awesome written from a teen's point of view. I'm guessing it would be banned it got rather graphic and the language was also graphic. I learned alot from that book. Stuff that I still carry with me. There were plenty of other books like that. Some we read in classes.

    The trouble I have with who gets to decide what is or isn't appropriate?

    My kids teachers caught holy hades for reading the Harry Potter books in class........It almost was stopped. Until parents spoke up. Those who wanted it stopped were in the vast minority.......they got the option of their child leaving the room while the books were read.

    Parents should have the final say.......maybe with majority rule. Afterall, it's their kids attending the schools. Banning in my opinion gives the wrong impression that a book is bad. How about labeling it with inappropriate for age level or something that makes more sense?