Banned Books Week starts Monday September 23 so here’s a book for all you rebel readers, along with a list of challenged books.
4th Grade to 7th Grade
IT’S A BATTLE OF THE BOOKS!
It all started the day Amy Anne Ollinger tried to check out her favorite book in the whole world, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, from the school library. That’s when Mrs. Jones, the librarian, told her the bad news: her favorite book was banned! All because a classmate’s mom thought the book wasn’t appropriate for kids her age to read.
Amy Anne decides to fight back by starting a secret banned books library out of her locker. Soon, she finds herself on the front line of an unexpected battle over book banning, censorship, and who has the right to decide what she and her fellow students can read.
This book talks about banning certain books from school libraries. The thing is some kids are able to understand and handle certain subjects better than others. I couldn’t handle the book Island of the Blue Dolphins when I was in elementary school because the thought of a little girl left on an island all by herself scared me to death. The same goes for adults. Adults are always scared about what kids read. That’s why I recommend certain ages for certain books on this blog, because I’m paranoid. But some of the books people ban and some of the reasons people ban them are just plain stupid. Dr. Seuss’s book The Lorax was challenged because it offended forestry workers. How dumb is that? Some people just need to get a life. Some people complain for the sake of complaining. It’s the risk every published author, writer and pretty much everyone has to know: not everyone will like your work and not everyone is going to like you.
I thought for this book review, I would discuss the 10 reasons why books are routinely banned or challenged. But then I decided it would be better to tell you 5 better reasons not to ban books:
1) You may not like something, but that’s no reason to take it away from everyone.
2) “Protecting” children from the difficult realities of the world is an exercise in pointlessness.
3) Books are among out best teachers.
4) Many of the most frequently banned books are celebrated classics. And that’s not a coincidence.
5) Books really can change the world.
Here are the first set of 11 books that were banned at Amy Anne’s school, the reasons why they were banned, and my personal opinion about said book:
Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume: This book features a sixth-grade girl struggling with questions about religion and female puberty. Taking in the fact that this book was published back in 1970, it’s not exactly current. I don’t remember how old I was when I listened to this book, but I know I mostly felt awkward because I wasn’t old enough.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz: This book is deemed too scary and/or age inappropriate. From what was said about the contense of said book, I sort of agree. I’ve never read them myself so, all I can say is read at your own risk.
Matilda by Roald Dahl:A beloved story about a girl named Matilda who loves to read and learns she has telekinetic powers. This has been challenged because of the story’s depiction of adults, including Matilda’s parents, being abusive and neglectful. The hard truth is that not all children live in happy homes and kids who do have good lives should be thankful that they aren’t mistreated by the people who created them.
Harriet the Spy:This novel is about an 11-year-old girl who spies on her classmates and inadvertently sets off a firestorm when her notebook of her brutally honest, and sometimes cruel, observations about her classmates is discovered. Parents challenged the book because it “teaches children to lie, spy, back-talk, and curse”. Let’s face it. All kids go through a ‘spy phase’ at some point in their lives, some just take it a little too far. And we all have our opinions about other people and not all of those opinions are nice.
Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn:A story about a bratty girl who finds a ghost in her new house. Banned because it deals with the subject of death and suicide. I don’t agree that this book should be banned, I just don’t think it because in the story the parents won’t get this obviously emotionally damaged girl any psychological help and just leave her to be watched by her slightly older step-siblings while they do their ‘jobs’. I know I said back in Matilda about kids learning the hard truth, but Matilda’s parents are cruel while the parents in this story are just plain stupid.
It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie H. Harris:A book written for kids ages 10 and older to teach them about sexual health, relationships, and puberty. It’s been banned across the country for content that’s inappropriate for children. I’ll just say this: Probably better to learn it all from a book then to learn about it from your 7thgrade health teacher in a classroom full of your peers. But that’s just me.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg: A story about a sister and brother who run away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Challenged because parents feared their children would imitate the siblings and run away from home. After reading ‘One Mixed-Up Night’ by Catherine Newman, I can kind of see their point. But then again, those were book characters, so never mind. Still a good story, just not my favorite.
All the Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park: This series of books features 5-year-old troublesome Junie B. Jones. Some adults have protested that Junie B’s vocabulary might inspire kids to use bad spelling and grammar. I loved these books growing up and all they did was make me laugh. (Future Review)
All the Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey:These books follow the story of two elementary school boys who hypnotize their mean principal into thinking he’s a superhero. Has been challenged for being inappropriate or unsuited to the age group, due to its crude humor. These books just prove that you can make a living drawing cartoons. (See Review #76 for more info)
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder: A story about a group of children who create an imaginative game based on Ancient Egypt. Challenged on religious grounds for depicting occult rituals involving Ancient Egyptian gods. I’ve never read this book, but I read a summary and it does seem kind of dark.
All the Goosebumps books by R.L. Stine: A series of children’s horror fiction novellas, challenged because parents fear the books are too frightening. For me, these books are just the right amount of scary for young kids. That ‘Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark’ book, that’s scary. (See Review #147 for more info)
With all that said, I will leave you with a quote from this book. “Nobody has the right to tell you what books you can and can’t read except your parents.”
This weeks’ Weird but True Fact about Reading
People who love to read tend to be nicer and more understanding, one study found.