So, Banned Books Week started today, and today, reading this article, I found out I read a banned book to both of my pre-school classes on Tuesday. And because the wee kiddos loved it so much, I read it twice in both of those classes (yes, they begged), and most of them chanted along with me the second time.
What was the book?
Yes, the Texas Board of Education banned BROWN BEAR, BROWN BEAR, WHAT DO YOU SEE, by Bill Martin, illustrated by Eric Carle, in January of this year because they thought the author was someone objectionable, someone else. In other words, they banned a fantastic book because of a mistake.
This reminded me of something that happened closer to home. A few years back, I went to a Scholastic Warehouse Event with several friends, and they were selling paperback copies of SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES, by Stephanie S. Tolan. Ben and I loved the book, so I recommended it. One of my friends said it was a bad book, that a group of parents had made one of the 5th grade teachers remove it from her curriculum the year before. I asked my friend if she'd read it. Of course she hadn't and could only remember that the book had a bad kid in it. From what I gathered, only one parent had read SURVIVING THE APPLEWHITES and decided it wasn't appropriate for her child, and I thought how sad it was that no one had challenged her. I have to wonder if the lady even finished reading the book.
So many banned books are such well-written, life-changing, beautiful works of art that it makes me wonder if the people who ban them are afraid to feel. There's a controversy over SPEAK, by Laurie Halse Anderson, at the moment. I haven't read SPEAK, but it can't be a great idea, limiting access to a book that helps victims find their voice. Some of my favorite banned books are FARENHEIT 451, anything by ROALD DAHL, and the HARRY POTTER series, but it's hard to choose.
Do you have a favorite banned book?