Tuesday, September 30, 2008

BBW Contest - Day Two

"Think for yourselves and let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too." ~Voltaire

OK, it's Day Two of my Banned Books Week contest, in which I blog about a banned book I've read from this list and you either (a) comment or (b) add a banned book you've read or (c) both. What can you win? The rest of the details are here.

Today's Banned Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

I understand why this one was banned, in a vague sense: racism is central to the plot, and there's quite a bit of profanity as well. There's also the issue of rape.

But it is also one of the most honest, beautifully written books that tackles tough issues while also creating some rich, wonderful t characters. Do we really think that by keeping it from young readers, we're preventing them from exposure to the kinds of words and thoughts they hear every day? Shouldn't they be able to read about characters in tough situations and gain something from understanding how those characters deal? Are we going to pretend that racism never existed, that it never affected human relationships - and the justice system - in this country?

Whenever I mention this book's censorship history to my students (who have already read it), they inevitably say, "Are you kidding? That was the best book ever!"

So? What about you?

8 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

Of all the "classics" I was force fed in school, this was quite possibly the only one I enjoyed! And, yes... kids should understand how things used to be. It's like recalling the holocaust (and all its nastiness) -- we should remember so we don't repeat our mistakes.

Devon Gray said...

I remember sneaking "Forever" into my book pile at the store when I was probably twelve or thirteen. My unsuspecting mother saw the name Judy Blume and had no qualms with the purchase. I can still remember sitting on the sofa looking over my shoulder to make sure my mother wasn't looming around in the background. And so, the guilty pleasure of the romance novel began!

Mom said...

The pre-school teacher speaks again!
One of my favorite books as a child was "Little Black Sambo." But by the time my children were pre-schoolers, in the '70's, I couldn't find the book anywhere. It was considered "racist," I guess. The illustrations were of dark people with kinky hair and names like, "Black Mumbo," and "Black Jumbo." I finally was able to order it from a local bookstore a few years ago.

Dru said...

It's amazing that most of the banned books that I read, I read while in ninth to twelfth grade and I recall the conversations we had in class that made us think and challenge our perceptions.

Allie Boniface said...

Devon, I TOTALLY remember sneaking off to read "Forever" at a friend's house when I was 12 or so. She had all the "good" parts earmarked so we could find them quickly!

And Mom, I remember loving "Little Black Sambo" too - the pictures and the silly story most of all. Funny, I didn't grow up thinking all black people lived or looked that way...

Liza said...

I looked at the list and realized I had read at least 30-35% of the books listed. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is still one of my favorite books I've ever read. I not only read it in school, but re-read it every year. I've giving copies to all of my younger cousins and my nieces.

I read "Forever" when I was about 11 or 12. It was my older sister's copy, but since it said Judy Blume, I figured I could read it too.

Anonymous said...

I read to Kill A Mockingbird in high school and in college. It is on my favorites list.
Another one I had to sneak to read was From Here to Eternity and as I recall it only had one bedroom scene-was mostly about the war. I could never figure why it was banned The copy I read was from one of my friend's mother's Book Of The Month club edition.
JOYE

Liz said...

I read this book when my son Steven had to read it for school so we could discuss it. I loved it - so did he.