It is National Library Week! I went to the public library today and finally met Martha, the amazing Teen Librarian at Springfield City Library. 🙂 That’s celebration-worthy.
In celebration of National Library Week, that American Library Association puts out the list of the Top 10 Banned/Challenged books of the past year. The top 10 books for 2014 are:
1) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie
Reasons: anti-family, cultural insensitivity, drugs/alcohol/smoking, gambling, offensive language, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group, violence. Additional reasons: “depictions of bullying”
2) Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi
Reasons: gambling, offensive language, political viewpoint. Additional reasons: “politically, racially, and socially offensive,” “graphic depictions”
3) And Tango Makes Three, Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “promotes the homosexual agenda”
4) The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “contains controversial issues”
5) It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
Reasons: Nudity, sex education, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. Additional reasons: “alleges it child pornography”
6) Saga, by Brian Vaughan and Fiona Staples
Reasons: Anti-Family, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group. Additional reasons:
7) The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence
8) The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Additional reasons: “date rape and masturbation”
9) A Stolen Life, Jaycee Dugard
Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group
10) Drama, by Raina Telgemeier
Reasons: sexually explicit
I’m not surprised about most of this list. I’ve read some of these titles and know of the rest. I highly recommend The Perks of Being a Wallflower for anyone who likes the Rocky Horror Picture Show. If you read it, you’ll understand why.
I am, however, very surprised at Drama being on this list. Drama is a graphic novel, geared for ages 10-14. I read it and loved it. I like the author and have read a few of her graphic novels. Drama is 240 pages of awkward theatre geekery that happens to have a gay character or two. It is a Stonewall Honor Book. There is nothing sexual. There is some hand-holding and a kiss or two. I agree with GeekDad’s post that “sexually explicit” is weasel-speak for “there are gay characters in the book.”
This is especially important with GSLEN’s Day of Silence fast approaching on Friday. “GLSENs Day of Silence is a national day of action in which students across the country vow to take a form of silence to call attention to the silencing effect of anti-LGBT bullying and harassment in schools.” I participated in Day of Silence when I was in high school and I am proud to support my students in it now.
Please note the book Pink over my right shoulder is a Stonewall Award Winner.
I wish that people would just get along. Even if you don’t like someone or their beliefs/lifestyle, just be nice. It doesn’t cost you anything to be nice, or at least, not a jerk. Don’t hurt other people. Live and let live.