Ok, yes everyone is doing it, so I am hopping on the bandwagon and blogging about Banned Books Week. I think so far my favorite blog coverage of the week has been over at Forever Young Adult. I mean the coverage has included a Golden Girls photo with The Hunger Games proudly displayed. Also, the Forever YA folks have explained to us why some of the most banned books need to be banned by sharing their experiences of how banned books have ruined their lives.
In all seriousness though. This is a week when people recognize the books that make a few select people so uncomfortable that those people feel the need to tell *everyone* that the book should not be read. These people are not content with choosing not to read it themselves, or deciding that (within their right to do so) their children should not read the book, no instead they decide they know what is best for everyone and decide that no one should read the book.
One book that has come under fire this year (like so many other years) is Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. This book has come to the attention again of someone who has decided that due to the "sexual content" of the book that it must be banned. Now, and I admit this may make me a bad librarian, when I read Speak I almost found it to be, boring? I actually found the movie to be a bit better, and I found the book to be subtle, almost slow, quiet. But, I think that kind of goes along with what the book is about. I've seen Laurie Halse Anderson speak (and actually met her at ALA in Chicago! She liked my tattoos), and she has said the book is not about rape, it's about depression. The depression does come about because of rape, but it's still about depression, and I agree with her.
I also think that this book is important. Did I love it? Not really. Do I respect it? Hell yes. I've been depressed, I've been through rough times, hell who hasn't. This book has touched so many young people, it's made them realize that they are not alone. And you know what? That's what books are supposed to do. We may not have to go through exactly what the main character of a book goes through, and we may never want to, but we can relate to the characters. Did I grow up in the Victorian era and marry the boy whom I broke a slate over his head cause he called me "carrots"? No. But, I always related to Anne Shirley because she was different, smart, not what people wanted her to be, but still loved. I'm still that way and I am 30 years old. I am sure my parents (especially my dad) would not choose to have a daughter with tattoos and pink hair, but that is who I am and they love me for it.
I will always think that parents should be involved in the books that their kids read. I fully support any parent's right to decide that his or her child should not read a specific book, for whatever reason. I do not support people who go out of their way though, and try to deny everyone, the right to read books that are important, and meaningful, no matter what they are. Because you never know what will touch someone else. You never know what will speak to someone.