Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It's Banned Book Week. This week we celebrate the freedom we have to read a book, any book, we choose.

Although I've never dictated what book my daughter could or couldn't read, I have to admit I did practice censorship with some magazines someone gave her. They were given with good intent, but I didn't think they were appropriate for a ten-year-old. I put them away in a trunk, but I felt guilty. The person who sent them to Shannon was trying to cheer up a little girl with chicken pox. What right had I to not even tell her about the gift? I told Shannon about the magazines and said she could read them if she wanted. She said she didn't want to. She wanted to read Harriet the Spy.

Several years ago, one of my books was challenged. They wanted it removed from a state list. The people objecting to my book pointed out a lot of things about the story that I didn't even know. They found hidden messages in the title and accused me of trying to attract readers with an MTV attitude. Thank goodness they didn't succeed in removing my book from the list. The reason they didn't is because ALA is armed with information to support librarians who face these situations.

Years ago when I was visiting a school, I asked a librarian if she'd ever had a parent want to remove a book. She said the only one that she'd had trouble with was Go Ask Alice. I couldn't believe it. When I was twelve I read that book. It scared the *@&# out of me. That book is the reason I never took drugs. I didn't want to end up like Alice. Books can inspire us to do things, but they can also introduce us to lives we never want to have to experience first hand.

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