Thursday, September 29, 2016

Banned Books: The Witches

I loved Roald Dahl as a kid, and I love him as an adult. I keep saying I am going to re-read all of his books, read his short stories for adults, and try to get my hands on his screenplays, but that project has been in the works for a couple years now, so we’ll see. I have recently re-read Matilda, accompanied with watching the movie (which my son became addicted to!) and seeing the musical, so that was a good start. 

The Witches was a nice follow-up, because I only read this book once as a child. I love Roald Dahl’s writing because of how the silliness is presented with a straight face, so it’s fun to try and decide what was off-the-wall, and what’s true. (As a child, it can be hard to find that line sometimes…)

Though I’d only read the book once, as soon as I cracked the cover, I could remember it so vividly. I think Quentin Blake’s illustrations really helped that matter, because he has such a distinct style that fits perfectly with Dahl’s stories. I couldn’t remember the climax or the resolution, though, so it was really fun to re-read this book and not know the outcome!

This book was banned by some libraries because of perceived misogyny - witches can only be women, and witches are horrible, so women are horrible, right? I think this is a pretty crazy reason to ban a book, do you agree?

Banned Book: Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

I have my old picture book copy of Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?, but a friend gave my son this cute board book version so I wanted to showcase it! This book is a classic regardless of what format you read it.

This is probably one of the silliest reasons for banning a book... A Texas state Board of Education member mixed up this Bill Martin with another Bill Martin - one who wrote the adult book Ethical Marxism: the Categorical Imperative of Liberation.

Kids, this just proves that you gotta do your research!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Banned Book: Charlotte's Web

Fern is a young girl who speaks out against her father trying to kill the runt of a litter of pigs. Since she makes such a passionate point, Fern’s father lets her keep the pig as a pet. At least for a little while… When it’s time for Fern to sell her pig, whom she named Wilbur, she sends him to her uncle’s farm down the road, so she can still see him. Fern visits the barn often, and becomes friends with the animals, who can talk. Charlotte, a wise spider, comes out of the woodwork (no pun intended) to save Wilbur’s life when the farmer is thinking of making bacon.

I read this book as a kid and loved it, as well as the cartoon movie adaptation. I re-read it over the summer in my book club for adults with disabilities. I remembered the general story, but forgot a lot of the details, as well as the writing style, which I think adds a lot to the story. The book club seemed to enjoy the book as well.

This book was banned because “talking animals were seen as an insult to God.” Yes. Really.

Banned Book: The Giving Tree

Can you tell this is my childhood copy of The Giving Tree?

This is another one of those picture books I was shocked to see banned. What could possibly be "wrong" with such a sweet classic like The Giving Tree?

Some people think the book is sexist, because the boy is always taking from the female tree without giving anything back.


It also "criminalized the foresting agency". Really? It's a picture book! I know a lot of picture books have deeper themes and can really resonate with you, but I never would have thought that about this book!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Banned Book: Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

Another book I read and loved as a kid. I was convinced I was going to be as cool as I thought Margaret was by sixth grade. (I had a different cover version with what I thought was a gorgeous Margaret.) I don’t think it happened, but I always love a Judy Blume children’s book. I loved reading about stuff that was going to be happening to me in a way that was relatable and easy to understand, instead of a heavy nonfiction book of facts.

Re-reading it as an adult was still really enjoyable, maybe mostly due to nostalgia, but I think kids these days (wow am I old!) would still relate to the book. The storyline of Margaret’s first period is pretty dated, with her having to learn to attach pads to a belt with a series of hooks… I’m sure there are new novels dealing with this that would be more helpful for preteens. The storyline is entertaining and quaint.

This book was banned because some people thought it was sexually offensive, immoral, profane, and offensive. I don’t think it should be restricted from readers because they need to know this information (well, updated information in the case of periods, but still), and it’s easy to read since it’s in a fiction story.