Banned Books Week
Before Banned Books Week ends tomorrow, we should note the most-challenged books in 2007. The American Library Association, which publishes the list each year, says the top spot is held for the second straight year by And Tango Makes Three. Two male penguins fall in love and hatch an egg -- a story line that has triggered challenges around the U.S. Others on the list: The Golden Compass (also known as Northern Lights), The Chocolate War and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
Philip Pulllman, author of The Golden Compass, told the Guardian that his "immediate and ignoble response was glee. Firstly, I had obviously annoyed a lot of censorious people, and secondly, any ban would provoke interested readers to move from the library, where they couldn't get hold of my novel, to the bookshops, where they could." The Guardian also has a quiz to test your knowledge of banned books.
That raises a question: Should any books be restricted -- if not banned -- for children according to age. Most parents are careful about what young children read (or what movies they see), guarding against topics from monsters to sex. Now British publishers are adding a "recommended for ages ... " mark to their books. Is that helpful, or a step down the slippery slope to censorship?
Here's the complete top 10 list from the library association, including reasons for challenging the book:
1. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell. Reasons: Anti-Ethnic, Sexism, Homosexuality, Anti-Family, Religious Viewpoint, Unsuited to Age Group
2. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier. Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Violence
3. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes. Reasons: Sexually Explicit and Offensive Language
4. The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman. Reasons: Religious Viewpoint
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain. Reasons: Racism
6. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker. Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language,
7. TTYL, by Lauren Myracle. Reasons: Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou. Reasons: Sexually Explicit
9. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris. Reasons: Sex Education, Sexually Explicit
10. The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky. Reasons: Homosexuality, Sexually Explicit, Offensive Language, Unsuited to Age Group