RHYS: If I asked you what Animal Farm,The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, The Scarlet Letter, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Huckleberry Finn, The Diary of Anne Frank, Farenheit 451, Gone with the Wind and the Catcher in the Rye all have in common I doubt if you could come up with the right answer--unless you look at the heading of today's post.
THEY ARE, OR HAVE BEEN, BANNED BOOKS. Books removed from school or local libraries because someone objected to them. And since Banned Books Week starts next Monday I thought it was time to bring to the attention of the readers of our blog that books are still being banned all around this nation.
I was once told by a librarian that in her school system it just takes two parents to complain for a book to be pulled from the shelves. I have even heard tales of Goldilocks and the Three Bears being banned from a school library--because she wasn't punished for breaking and entering.
The reasons the books cited above were banned range from the obvious: the N word in Huckleberry Finn, even though Mark Twain was most sympathetic to the black cause, to the dubious--Anne Frank mentions menstruation, Harry Potter's wizard behavior is deemed anti-Christian, as is the world of Lord of the Rings. The most ironic, of course is Farenheit 451--a book about banned books, about the destruction of all books because the powers that be fear knowledge in the population. And isn't that exactly what school or library boards demonstrate when they give in to extemism and remove books from their shelves?
I read on another post this week an example of how short sighted some of the school boards are, acting out of fear without doing the research. A book called "Making it with Mary" was pulled from the shelves, when it was actually all about sewing.
In my opinion there is no reason to ban a book. If it is considered too mature for a child, then it is up to the teachers to advise and the parents to intervene. If it portrays things that civilized humans would find objectionable it can surely be seen as a good teaching tool, helping young people to make their own decisions about what is acceptable and what is not. In a world in which no book is as graphic as the material seen every night on TV, removing them from shelves is surely a waste of time.
So let all civilized and intelligent readers keep tabs on their school and library boards and speak up when needed. My new book, Royal Blood, is about vampires. even if they are of the comic variety--does that mean that it is being pulled from library shelves at this minute?