Banned Books Week

27 09 2010

Banned Books Week started yesterday and I’m grateful to Eli Ross’s blog for having reminded me of the fact and for having made this very interesting comment in one of his posts where he linked to my post on getting boys to read. He writes:

So perhaps — and I know this is a stretch — perhaps we can entice reluctant readers with banned books. A Clockwork Orange, Slaughterhouse Five, Native Son — each of these could appeal to boys who find no connections to the stories in most books handed to them, with the added fillip of being considered “dangerous” by some groups.

I think it’s a great idea and my plans to celebrate Banned Books week include trying to introduce the kids to a banned book and read one or two myself. For reluctant readers, I can completely see being able to have access to the forbidden fruit as something appealing. My daughter, in particular, would jump at the chance to no only be allowed, but to have Mom and Dad’s blessing to do something “bad” like reading a banned book – in fact, when I mentioned it to her this morning, a slightly wicked grin grew across her face. So, for other kids, perhaps not only will it entice them to read but to also think about what they’re reading in a different way, not as a simple consumer, but to consider why it is that books are sometimes seen as dangerous. Going to be a fun talk with the kid as we go over it, I’m sure of that.

Now I just need to decide on the book. For myself, I’m going to kill two birds with one stone (ha!) and finally get around to reading To Kill a Mockingbird. “You’ve never read that?!?!” says my wife. No, and it’s tremendously embarrassing to me, but I’m going to just go ahead and cop to it now: I’ve had opportunity after opportunity to do so, but have always managed to get distracted, most recently during the 50th anniversary of the book which landed dead square in the middle of our relocation across the country. So, I’ll read a banned book and I’ll also fill in a huge, glaring, ugly gap in my reading history. How’s that for efficiency?

For kids, finding one is made much easier by consulting this list maintained by the University Library of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

If anyone out there is looking for ideas or feels like joining in on a reading challenge, two good places to start would be to check out the 10 most challenged books in the U.S. for 2010 (courtesy of the Guardian) and/or this book blogger reading challenge for the month over at Steph Su Reads.

Also, last year, the American Library Association released the following cute PSA about banned books. Be neat if they did another one, but this is pretty funny:

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2 responses

27 09 2010
Dax

Okay, I’m with you. I’ve never read Catcher in the Rye. I’ll knock that out this week as I’m in between books for the most part anyway and would like to see what I’m missing.

30 09 2010
Andy Milford

The publishers Penguin do a box set of banned books, 10 books in total I believe, which is a great addition to any bookshelve!

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