I find it interesting that some of the books I teach in my classroom are on the list as well as The Hunger Games series (which I love!) and The Giver by Lois Lowry. Write a book that makes people think or question the status quo and you can guarentee sometime, somewhere, you'll be banned. Way to go, freedom of speech.
In honor of banned book week, I thought I'd share a young adult book that I re-read a couple weeks ago. This book has been so controversial that the author even brings up censorship in a question-and-answer section in the back of the newer editions.
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson is a book about depression. The summer before Melinda's freshman year, she attends a party and things go horribly wrong. And because the whole school blames her, she has no friends and no one to confide in. And her secret is destroying her.
The book follows her through her ninth grade year and the reader gets to watch, horrifyingly, as Melinda, literally, becomes less and less of a person. It's heartbreaking to read.
But that I can relate to it and see many of my students in different aspects of Melinda is why it is a book that should be allowed in schools.
I can't imagine the number of kids that would find themselves in this book. Find, not only someone like them, but find help.
That's the power of a good book. And not allowing students to understand and experieince that power is a shame. No wonder kids hate reading and we're raising a generation that has reading levels of 3rd and 4th grade when the "graduate" high school. Good job, America, good job.
And, as a Christian, I think it's important to note that many of the books that are banned have been spear-headed by Christian groups. This is so frustrating.
Maybe we wouldn't have such large numbers of kids going off to college and renouncing their faith if we let them hear and experience different opinions and thoughts as younger kids. And have healthy conversations with them about the things they're reading. And explain how it relates to what we believe.
Keeping it away from our kids obviously isn't working. Let's try something new.
Just a thought.
So in celebration of this week, read a banned book.
When we went to the library on Tuesday, they had a display of banned books and I picked up one I'd never heard of before, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie that, apparently, is all over banned-book lists.
That's next on my reading list.