Welcome to Banned Book Week!
This week I am joining Sheila from Book Journey, talking about banned books.
Sheila has been hosting this event for the past 5 years.
She, like myself, believes that no one
has the right to say what another person may or may not read.
Here is the definition of banning books from Sheila's blog:A book banning is the removal of those materials that someone protested. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, or stores, thereby restricting the access of others.
When I first signed up, Sheila asked if was I going to do:
a banned book review
a post about censorship
a post about a favorite banned book
I checked 'other.'
What other is there?
Now I am stuck!
While I'm thinking of the "other" let me tell you about a time when I was the assistant librarian in an elementary school in California.
Each year, they have a big convention (probably in each state) where they honor notable children's books and authors.
The school district I worked for was very generous and sent all the librarians as well as their assistants.
One evening there was a big awards dinner, where the authors attended and for dinner sat and ate with those of us attending. It was so much fun, getting to visit an author up close and personal.
The author who sat at our table was Zilpha Keatly Snyder, the author of the Egypt Game, The Headless Cupid, The Witches of Worm and... The Changeling! (plus many more)
The Changeling was my FAVORITE! I loved that book when I was a girl.
If you are reading this blog, then you know enough to realize that those books' titles alone are enough to stir discontent with people who like to BAN BOOKS!
OFF with the librarian's head! Letting my child have access to The WITCHES OF WORM???
Or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (they have blue/black oompa loompas!)
Charlotte's Web (talking animals indeed!)
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (the police are portrayed by pigs! Heaven Forbid! but...Sylvester was a donkey)
Green Eggs and Ham (REALLY? We just did a Bible Study on this one---more on that later)
The Giver ( more reasons than I can note)
I could go on, but let me get back to my dinner with Zilpha Keatly Snyder.
I leaned over to her and said --- My favorite book of all time is "The Changeling".
She looked at me and said, "Ahhh, so you are a Changeling. You are a unique group of people."
It was the highlight of my life! Or at least the highlight of that convention.
Zilpha Keatly Snyder thinks I'm unique!!
IF---if---some people had had their way, that book, the Changeling, which so saved my life in the summer of 1970 (saved me from boredom!), would have never been on the library shelf for me to check out over and over.
I spent the summer devouring this book.
My friend Kathy and I checked it out all summer long. We took turns.
We played imaginary games with the characters.
We had our own canyon and tree people!
We. Were. Changelings!
What better way for two 11 year old girls to spend their summer?
By riding bikes to the library, checking out books and acting out plays from the books they read--using their imaginations?
Why ban something like that?
Ivy Carson belonged to the notorious Carson family, which lived in a run-down house in suburban Rosewood. But Ivy was not a typical Carson. There was something wonderful about her. Ivy explained it by saying that she was a changeling, a child of supernatural parents who had been exchanged for the real Ivy Carson at birth. This classic book was first published in 1970. It was awarded a Christopher Medal and named an outstanding book for young people by the Junior Library Guild.
It says 'supernatural' right there.
That's it!! BURN IT!!
(But not until I give copies to all of my grandchildren, okay?)
I want to decide for myself what I can read. I don't want any political, religious or social group telling me or my children or my grandchildren what is right or wrong to read.
What you might find offensive, I might not and vica-versa.
So why is this 'other' story important in this banned book week?
I mean, I am not blasting out facts and statistics and details about how, why, what-for, we shouldn't ban books--- or why we shouldn't let people get away with banning books.
So, why is my little story important?
Because I believe that letting people express themselves in what they read, music they listen too, dance the dance they feel called to, paint the pictures they want to, is the sign of a smart, thinking, interesting culture.
I like smart, thinking and interesting people.
I don't want a copy-cat kind of culture where we all read the same things, and nothing bad ever happens in books---believe it or not, that is one of the top reasons for banning books from an elementary school library--so the kids don't have to deal with harsh issues.
I want my grandchildren to have open minds and open hearts--which I think diversity in reading can nurture.
Where else can they escape and travel and learn...all while sitting on their bed with an open book.
But that's just me--and my "other" ideas.
My silly idea that I shouldn't take away your right to read what you want to.
I am against the banning of books.
And I think you should be too.
And if you are.... then let me know in a comment or a blog post and you could very will win these:
The winner will be chosen on Saturday, October 3rd, in a very random way.