Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Banned Books

Hello Everyone!

(Adorable Photo Created by Heidi)

Tell Me Something Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the awesome Heidi at Rainy Day Ramblings.This week's discussion is on banned books!

The Question:

Let’s talk banned books. How to you feel about book banning?
What are some of the banned books you have read?

My View:

Gosh, this question is tougher then it looks. 
Really, books should not be banned. People should have a chance to choose to try a book or not.
Recently,  I was surprised when my mom picked up the erotic Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L James at the bookstore. Her reasoning was that it was geared to middle-aged women like herself and she was curious to try it. Even if I will never read this book in my life, I understand her reasoning for choosing to choose this book. I am not going to say like, "You cannot read this book because I never would." 

But, I understand why books would be banned for one reason: profane language. And this is only for elementary and middle school students. I feel high school students, like myself, have an adept understanding of the world and the depth of how much foul language can hurt another person, to understand why certain words should not be spoken. I worked with third graders that last two years, as a teacher's aide for by Hebrew School, and I was impressed about that each child was intelligent, smart, and funny. But I never felt kids around this age yet have a full understanding of the impact a bad word can leave. Kids are still in the carefree state where they want to mimic anything they see, hear and read that is "cool".

I disagree with book banning when a book is banned based on personal reasons like a book not meeting one or a group of reader's morals. 

I disagree with book banning based on a book including unrealistic magical elements and critiques based on a controversial issue and society. 

My final project of high school actually was on book censorship. I created a defense on why the brilliant book Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut deserves to be read and not censored. I will continue my earlier statement by saying this book deserves to be read by anyone in high school, but I understand why a school board would not want this book to be read by younger students. 

First, this book should not be banned just because it disagrees with a reader's morals like critiquing American culture. I felt that since this book shares societies flaws, like on page 164 when it comment's on American's glorifying the rich while subordinating the poor. I feel that messages like this actually benefits students because it illustrates to them about the need to improve society and distinguish its injustices. 

This book has so much intellectual benefits from all its philosophical messages. I am still pondering over this line from Slaughterhouse-Five page 26, "When a person dies he only appears to die. He is still very much alive in the past ... All moments, past, present, and future, always have existed, always will exist."

Wow. I am so amazed by this book. Just this one line has so much to offer. It shares the importance of memories, knowing that death is not the end. The past happened, the future will happen, but we should always remember each moment. Instead of only considering the present.   

My other favorite banned books?

Harry Potter Series by J.K Rowling
Holes by Louis Sachar
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Where The Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (Can you believe it?)

Thanks for reading! 
What are your thoughts on book banning and favorite banned books?


  1. I'm against banning in any form, but I do understand your point about profane language Rachel. I just question why books are challenged/banned for language or content, but every child I see these days is glued to an iPhone or Droid or whatever which gives them access to the internet. The internet, where they can see and hear at any moment of the day far worse things than what they might possibly see should they stumble into a library or bookstore and pick a book up off the shelf:)

    Also, I adored Slaughterhouse Five! And Where the Sidewalk Ends was banned? Really? I had no idea!

  2. I actually feel that profanity in books isn't something to be avoided. It's the 21st century, the internet era, kids have pretty much heard it all. I think we need to trust kids themselves not to use them, especially in a way that could be hurtful to someone else. I think removing curse words from books is pretty much like crying over splilled milk. My kid is 6, and while I don't intentionally expose her to profanites, I don't fill her ears with cotton either. Some things can't be avoided, but I CAN teach her to be responsible and know how to filter the information she gets to that which is appropriate and that which is not.

    But I AM against things that are offensive, although like Jenny, I don't think books should be banned, ever.

  3. Honestly, I hear more foul language in the middle school level than I do in the high school level. So, to me, language isn't a concern unless it is the very young. Still, I have no problem for a parent to parent a kid and not allow them to read it for that reason as long as they aren't parenting other kids. I think it's just sad that people miss out on beautiful quotes as you just showed because a book was banned. :(

  4. Thank you for weighing in today, Rachel. I am so impressed with your thoughts. I remember reading Slaughter House Five as a senior in HS but I don't remember it now. I really need to go back and reread. I am so sad to see Where the Sidewalk Ends on that list that is one of my favorite books. I even bought it of my kids even though they are not old enough yet. I have it waiting for them. Harry Potter is another that just makes me sad. I remember a few years ago I was working in a dental office in Phoenix and a ten year old came in and told me that his mom said the HP books were for the devil. So sad.....



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