10/3/12

My son is being forced to read banned books

It's Banned Books Week, and it has occurred to me that all the books that my son is reading for 7th grade English class have shown up on lists of banned or challenged books.

The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, can actually still be taught in high schools in Arizona, having survived the debacle that occurred when the Dept. of Education went into classrooms and removed the books used for Mexican Studies.  But it wasn't clear at first, when it showed up on the list of books being challenged and removed, if it was going to be approved by those in power or not.

The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, is "ranked #43 on the American Library Association’s Top 100 Most Challenged Books of 1990-2000 and has been banned from some schools and libraries because of its portrayal of gang violence, underage smoking and drinking, strong language, slang usage, and exposĂ© on family dysfunction." (from Banned Books Awareness).  My son just finished this one, and is not smoking, drinking, or swearing (much), nor is he more a dysfunctional member of the family than he was before.

Persepolis, by Marjane Satrapi, has been denounced by the religious leaders of Iran and banned in that country.

To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, is going to expose my son to the "n" word 48 times.   But I think he's going to be a better person for having read it.

Macbeth is going to expose him to graphic violence and witchcraft.  Shoot.  He took part in a production of it last year, so it's too late.

In short, I'm glad my son is going to this school.  They have lots of banned books in their library too.

9 comments:

  1. That is a great list--I think I'm going to make my seventh-grade son read them all, too (if only I could...).

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    1. I've read Macbeth, of course, and To Kill a Mockingbird... but it was so long ago I think its time to try it again. And I've never read the other three.

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  2. ****laying low***** I'm not a huge fan of the banned book, at least in the school library. There are some parents who take offense. Loudly. Quite honestly, I'm scared. I like working.

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    1. Well, I don't think that there are any books in the library that any parents are trying to challenge...It would surprise me lots! I hope you never have to cope with the horror of it in your own library.

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  3. Replies
    1. Did you like them??? So far they've only read The Outsiders, and my son seemed to enjoy it reasonably well....

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    2. I especially loved The House on Mango Street and To Kill a Mockingbird. To Kill a Mockingbird is still one of the best novels of the twentieth century, if not the best. I grew up in Chicago, so The House on Mango Street is a definite favorite.

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  4. NICE! I like this school your son goes to.

    My children are required to read challenged/banned books too. By me-I love homeschooling. I'm teaching a 10th-12th grade literary analysis class at our co-op this year and we are about to start Fahrenheit 451. Can not wait.

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  5. Hmm, my school assigned The Outsiders and To Kill a Mockingbird too. They were among the only assigned books I actually *liked.* I still have copies of both...

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