This post is part of a series on banned and challenged books marking the ALAs Banned Books Week 2011. The final post will appear tomorrow.
While writing these pieces for for Banned Books Week 2011, I’ve come across a lot of interesting/engaging/crazy articles online. Here is a selection of my favourites.
New York Times, 1994: Public and Private – Don’t Read This
Wednesday: Contemplate bookshelves in office. “Moby Dick” encourages whale hunting, “Anna Karenina” adultery, Shakespeare teen suicide, usury and the occult. Faulkner, oy. Consider what would remain if all books containing sex, profanity, racial slurs, violence were removed from shelves. Narrow it down to “Cat in the Hat,” dictionary and Bible.
WorldNetDaily, 2007: Christian Parents: Stop Trusting Harry Potter
But Dumbledore is a made-up figure, and as such, he’s up for critique, review and remodeling. Why make him “gay,” one wonders? Why now? An agenda seems to be lurking. The link between pagan/occult spirituality and outlaw sexuality has always been strong, one more reason to keep impressionable kids away from the increasingly weird genre of “fantasy” books and movies. These spirits are real and seek to intrigue, deceive and sidetrack the children handed to them. And that’s exactly what we are doing – handing them our precious children, believing there’s no harm.
New Yorker, 2011: Captain Underpants and Huckleberry Finn
The problem isn’t the word; the problem is having the book banned to begin with because of the word, and yet having it returned to reading lists would indeed be a good outcome, although achieved by the worst sort of means. Honestly, I can’t think of an instance when censorship is acceptable. There are times when you might wish for it, but what you really ought to wish for is that ugly ideas never got formed, rather than trying to keep them from being expressed.
New Humaninst, 2010 Banned: the hidden censorship of children’s books
Panglossian objections to acknowledging the seamier side of life have an impact on political and social education. Bans on pictures of children working in factories or markets, images of poverty (in a book on money), and photos of people hanging off buses or on train roofs in Indian are typical examples. It’s not clear whether this is to protect the tender sensibilities of the young or to hide the underbelly of the consumerist economy, or both.
The Telegraph, 2007 Children’s books are ‘purged of risks’
Lindsey Gardiner, who has written and illustrated 15 children’s books, claims publishers banned youngsters from walking alone in one novel and removed sharp objects from another.
Her latest book, Who Wants A Dragon?, originally featured a dragon toasting marshmallows on flames from his nostrils as he sat around a campfire. She said her publishers insisted that she change the scene because “it looks dangerous and goes against health and safety”.
And finally… The Literary Gift Company Banned Books necklace. *COVET*