Banned Books Week, 2016

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association. Source info for this post comes from the same.

It’s Banned Books Week! Are you excited?

I love Banned Books week because it gets us all talking about censorship. For those of you who don’t live in the US we’re pretty particular about freedom of speech. We argue about it a lot, and the freedom of an artist to express ourselves is constantly up for debate.

While there are some books that I don’t think need to be in elementary school libraries, I don’t think there’s ever a good reason to ban a book. The worst of books still have value, and I wouldn’t ever say that someone can’t read something just because I don’t agree with its message.

Every year I celebrate Banned Book Week by reading a book that was banned. This week I’m reading Bone, by Jeff Smith. Yes, I have read it before, but it’s a favorite of mine.

It’s actually the second year in a row that I’ve read a comic book for my Banned Book. In fairness, last year I read Maus, which is about as uplifting as a gut wound. Bone, on the other hand, is everything you’d want from a story. There’s romance, jokes, characters to love and hate. If you don’t mind being seen reading a children’s book, check out Bone.

If you don’t want to be seen reading a children’s book, I still highly encourage you to read a banned book this week. There are thousands of books that have been banned, for one reason or another. If you’re having trouble finding one, here’s the top ten list of books that were banned in 2015.

Looking For Alaska, by John Green

Banned for offensive language and sexually explicit content.

I think you all know my opinion of swearwords. But let me add this; I think there’s something really messed up about our society, when we consider our own bodies in sexual situations to be more vulgar than violence.

Fifty Shades of Grey, by E.L James

Banned for sexually explicit content, of course.

I’m not a fan of this series, but I also don’t care that people like it. It’s porn, and there’s nothing wrong with porn. I don’t think it needs to be in schools, but that’s about it.

I am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings

Banned for being ‘inaccurate’, discussing homosexuality and sex education.

I’m really getting sick of homosexuality being considered an inappropriate topic for kids. You can’t shield them from everything you don’t agree with and expect them to be an open minded person. And if you don’t want your kids to be open minded people, there’s a pretty good chance that I don’t care for you.

Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin

Banned for being anti-family, having offensive language, having political viewpoints and religious viewpoints.

What the hell does ‘anti-family’ mean? And if that’s a thing, why is it so offensive? Lots of people don’t have traditional families for one reason or another. They can still be surrounded by people who love them. And lots of people who are transgender have a real good reason for not speaking to blood family. I don’t pretend to understand completely, but as a nontraditional woman, I get a lot of unnecessary crap from some of my family. I get choosing to block out that negativity.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime, by Mark Haddon

Banned for offensive language and religious viewpoints, including atheism.

I’m not an atheist, but I’m not so convinced that my children will blow away if someone introduces them to atheism.

The Bible

Banned for religious viewpoint.

Really? Again, people are going to disagree with you. It’s the Bible, you kind of know what you’re getting into when you pick it up. Can I also mention that it’s an historical document that students may need to reference occasionally?

Fun Home, by Allison Bechdel

Banned for violence and graphic images.

The same author who inspired the Bechdel test has also written a banned book. No surprise there, I suppose. Really, if this book is being banned, 1984 needs to go, too. Oh, and Of Mice and Men.

Habibi, by Craig Thompson

Banned for nudity and sexually explicit content.

Nasreen’s Secret School: A true Story From Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter

Banned for religious viewpoints and violence.

Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

Banned for homosexuality and condoning public displays of affection.

Because it will break a child’s brain to know that sometimes boys like to kiss other boys.

Someone thought it was a good idea to shoot up a night club because they didn’t like that sometimes boys love other boys. Lots of people decided to shoot and kill other people this year. Children in America are starving today, right now. But we shouldn’t let the children know that sometimes boys like other boys.

If you’re a writer, jump on twitter and use #banmybook to tell us why your book would be banned. See you there. And let us know what banned book you’re reading today in the comments below.

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