An interesting title? Yes, well this is the exact same title that caught my eye this afternoon in my daily flick through my blog lists. The source of this title: Reading Today Daily. The post highlights a number of books that have caused controversy in the last year. They write;
To Kill a Mockingbird...the Twilight series...Catcher in the Rye...The Color Purple--these are just a sampling of the most frequently challenged books of 2009, according to the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF).
So after further investigation into the ALA Website I learned the difference between a 'challenged book' and a 'banned book'. See full post here. Basically, a challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials.
So what kinds of classic stories have been banned over the years?
The Lord of the Rings, JRR Tolkien
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell
As I Lay Dying, William Faulkner
Catch-22, Joseph Heller
Beloved, Toni Morrison
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
The Catcher in the Rye, JD Salinger
I’ve read all of these stories and some of them more than once. If you want to see the full list of ‘banned and challenged’ classics go here. You may be surprised at some of the books that are in the Top 10 challenged books for 2009.
However, the purpose of this post is not to delve deep into the Banned Books List. The list is certainly interesting, but it has prompted me to think about early childhood settings and the books we provide for our young children.
While we don’t go as far as contacting an association to ban stories in our centres (not that I have heard of anyway), there is some level of power that teachers have in their day to day activities that actually limit children’s literary experiences.
Here’s an example:
What are your initial thoughts of the following book?
It's a book about a mole who goes around trying to find out who 'poohed' on his head. When I first read this I thought it was funny, however, when I shared it with a colleague she didn't find it funny she found it offensive. Who gets to choose whether this story is available for young children?
What about more controversial topics and books like "Where do babies come from?" or "Heather has two mummies". Who chooses whether or not children in your early childhood setting are exposed to these stories? What are your thoughts?