Monday, March 19, 2007

Reporting on the Challenge March 19, 2007

121 people, including the people listed below, have pledged to read over 830 books in the Banned Book Challenge. Young adult author, KL Going has taken up the challenge. She is the author of St. Iggy and Fat Kid Rules the World. Fat Kid Rules the World has been banned from high school libraries in Pickens, S.C. Pickens Politics has an interesting version of what happened.

Ahlimah, Canada, 20
melistress, Canada, 4
JustBeingMe, Malaysia, 1
Ank, USA, more than 25
momvicky, USA, 2
Chesworth, Canada, 8
3M, USA, 7
KL Going, USA, 5
LibraryGirl, Canada, 15
katrina, England, 5

Check the comments below for titles that have been submitted.

Freedom to Read Poster 2000


fahrenheit451moderator said...

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
Because it mentions sex a couple times? Or maybe the tooth drilling scene? I don't know, really -- I liked this very much. (Would it help to know that it was banned in China?)

Lauren, USA
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
I was rereading this, but I didn’t really remember it, because I last read it in high school. It’s the amazing life story of Maya Angelou, up until the time she becomes a teen mother. She is so strong, and it’s wonderful to see how her power develops. She had a very unusual childhood, and she traces it from her grandmother in the south to her mother in San Fransisco and her no-good father on his adventures in Mexico. It’s also really interesting how she tells the story from the age of the child she’s describing, so it evolves throughout the book, and she also occasionally makes remarks clearly from her adult voice, which add perspective and sometimes also explains.

Lauren, USA
Snow Falling on Cedars
I’ve heard great things about this book, and it didn’t disappoint me. It’s about a
murder trial in the pacific northwest, on a small fishing island in Washington. It goes into detail about all of the people involved in the trial, and tells their stories, and the atmosphere created makes the book more about the story of the town than the story of the trial. It’s largely about the internment camps the Japanese Americans were sent to during World War 2.

I had a bit of a hard time figuring out why this one was banned. There were some “bad” things in it, but they didn’t seem like enough to ban the book. There’s some sex (on a honeymoon), some violence (war flashback).

Lauren, USA
Anastasia Krupnik
This is one of the kid’s books on my list. Young adult novels are frequently banned – it’s for the children, of course! This is a fantastic book about ten year old Anastasia, and her dramas and hopes and worries. It’s really funny, even to an adult, and honest.

It was probably banned because an adult character uses the word “shit,” Anastasia thinks that some adults are stupid, and she writes in her journal about how she hates her parents at one point.

Lauren, USA
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
This short book is one that is totally different from what I would normally read, but it’s really good. It’s about two young men in China during the Cultural Revolution, when all things academic or aristocratic were banned. The two boys have been sent to the countryside to do hard labor, and they miss their educated upbringing with their doctor parents. Then, they come across a suitcase full of forbidden books- translated western classics. They read through them all, and then read many of them to a girl who grew up in the countryside. It’s a fascinating story, and it sort of plunks you down in the middle of the scene for you to figure it out as you go.

Tanzanite, USA
To Kill A Mockingbird
The only reason I can see is the use of the "n" word. But given that the narrator is a young child in 1930s Alabama, I think the usage is entirely appropriate because that is how people talked then. I don't know if the word was thought to be offensive in the 30s (or even in the 60s when the book was written). To have used a more modern description (like African-American) I think would have taken away from the authenticity of the story.

Kristin Dodge said...

Per "To Kill a Mockingbird"...

There is also the implied (and true) incestual relationship between Bob and Mayella Ewell.

As for "Balzac," I loved this little book. I think the reason why this was banned in China was, as the book says, the political climate.

If you are bored, google banned book sites. Even Mickey Mouse and Popeye the Sailor Man were banned as "indecent."