Banned Books Week Part 1

Banned Books Week started on September 25th.  Due to this I decided to start looking at the most frequently challenged books from the past decade to see what I have read, what I haven’t read and if I agree or at least understand the challenging of any of them.  I’m thinking I might get some good titles for my “to-read” list as well!!

Here’s the list:

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009 (from the ALA)

Bolded books I have read, links go to my reviews

1 Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
2 Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4 And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5 Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6 I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou

7 Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8 His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9 TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10 The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11 Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12 It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13 Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
14 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

15 The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16 Forever, by Judy Blume
17 The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18 Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19 Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20 King and King, by Linda de Haan
21 To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22 Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23 The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24 In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25 Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26 Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27 My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28 Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29 The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney

30 We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31 What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32 Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33 Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34 The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35 Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36 Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37 It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38 Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39 Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40 Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41 Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42 The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43 Blubber, by Judy Blume
44 Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45 Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46 Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47 The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby, by George Beard
48 Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49 One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50 The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51 Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52 The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53 You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54 The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55 Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56 When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57 Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58 Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59 Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60 Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61 Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62 The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63 The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64 Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65 The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67 A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68 Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69 Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70 Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71 Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72 Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison

73 What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74 The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75 Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76 A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77 Crazy:  A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78 The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79 The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80 A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81 Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82 Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83 Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84 So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85 Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86 Cut, by Patricia McCormick

87 Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88 The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89 Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90 A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91 Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Graighead George
92 The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93 Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94 Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95 Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96 Grendel, by John Gardner
97 The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98 I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99 Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100 America: A Novel, by Frank, E.R.

I should note that this is not a list of YA books specifically, though you may notice that MANY of the titles are YA books.

None of the books I read are what I would consider controversial.  I know why most of them were probably challenged, but all in all none of them offended me or gave me much pause! Take this last opportunity to vote in my Book Banning Poll.

Opposition to YA Yet Again

Laurie Halse Anderson has posted on her Livejournal an entry about a man who has declared that her novel Speak is “soft-core pornography” due to the rape scenes.  In my review of Speak I did not address the sexual issues brought up in the novel because I didn’t want to include any spoilers.  But now I am going to speak out and up about my view of it.

Not once while reading the book did I feel like I was reading something inappropriate.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I feel that Anderson did a great job of fully explaining the events in a graphic but NOT pornographic manner.  As Anderson points out in her blog entry calling it pornography implies that readers would be getting some sort of sexual gratification out of reading it.  I can’t imagine any healthy individual becoming aroused by reading Speak.

How are we supposed to educate our youth about important and unfortunately somewhat common issues if we can’t write books that talk about them?  When I become a parent I will encourage my children to read stories that keep them informed and challenge them to think about life and the choices they will have to make and situations they may find themselves in.  I will use these books to start constructive conversations and I hope that others are currently doing this with their teens.

You can check out Laurie Halse Anderson’s post here.

I feel this goes along with the book banning issue I recently addressed.  Let me know your opinion on that in my Book Banning Poll.

Love That Dog- Sharon Creech

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This book was handed to me by the woman in charge of curriculum at my current school.  She told me that it was the newest book that they had ordered for bibliotherapy.  I was immediately intrigued because I have read other books by Creech before and was interested in what this one was like.  Once I found out it was written as a series of free verse poems I was a little more hesitant but decided to give it a try.  It took me 15-20 minutes to read straight through- which especially for the population of students I’m working with is a big plus!  The book is written as if a early teen boy wrote the poems and through them a small story line develops revolving around his feelings about poetry and about his pet dog.

One of the things I really really enjoyed about this book is that Creech included references to well known poetry such as The Red Wheelbarrow, some of Robert Frost’s poems, and poetry by Walter Dean Myers (one of my favorite YA Lit Authors).  The focus for the bibliotherapy aspect of the book is to encourage our students to use writing as an outlet, identify their feelings, and to discuss loss and grief.  In addition to that I think that we can really use this book to explore a poetry unit- focusing specifically on the poems mentioned int he book and then writing our own poetry as well.

When I hopefully do teach this book I will fill you in on how it goes, and perhaps find a way to post any activities that I create or adapt to go with it!

This book is definitely a 6-9th grade book.  I would recommend it for middle school primarily, though reluctant readers in 9th grade may appreciate its brevity.  Our class is primarily male and we are hoping that the male protagonist will make it appealing to them.

Christopher Award
Mitten Award (Michigan)
Claudia Lewis Poetry Award

Poll #9- Book Banning

Continuing my conversations about book banning here is a new poll!

Book Banning- is it a necessary evil?


Twilight Poll Results

I did not get too many people to vote, but I promised that I’d post the results in a week so here they are.  I am leaving the poll open though for people to continue voting on!

What was your favorite Twilight book?

Twilight 37.5% (3 votes)

Total Votes: 8