When I have children, these will be among the best books on their shelf, but people around the country have found them much more controversial. So instead of saying “why not”, here’s WHY they are so great:
1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell / The adorable true story of two male penguins in Central Park who, with the help of the zookeeper, hatch a beautiful baby daughter. While one of the most challenged books in 2008-2009, this may be my favorite story about a “modern family”.
2. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson / Victims should never be blamed or silenced, and anyone that sees rape as pornographic is severely disturbed. I was appalled at how Anderson’s novel was targeted last week. Teens should be encouraged to #SpeakLoudly… and they can get the courage to do so from this book.
3. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling / Obviously. Since I am the kind of person that labelled myself as a “Christian witch” when I was 12.
4. Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary / If kids are reading the dictionary (even if it’s to look up the definition of “oral sex”), the only consequence is that they’ll probably do better on the SATs. Also, if your children have to look up what sex means, you probably need to work on your parenting skills.
5. Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison / Ooh muttis and vatis may have a nervy spaz because Georgia’s diary contains gorgy sex gods, but if you cannot grasp the hilariosity, you are probably a wet tosser and in need of a duffing up. Now let’s go down the disco!
6. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee / Racism is a tricky one when it comes to banning books because if, like me, you’re staunchly against censorship, it’s difficult to be okay with older versions of books that have racist undertones (like Little Black Sambo). But there’s a big difference between being racist and portraying racism, and To Kill A Mockingbird certainly falls under the latter.
7. The Diary Of Anne Frank / Only Nazis would ban Anne Frank.
8. The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman / By the time you get through the 3rd book (The Amber Spyglass), it is clear that Pullman has a strong anti-religious agenda. But it never stopped me from loving the series, and even if I raise my children in the Christian faith, I’ll want them to read, doubt and think for themselves. All opposed should go read Narnia instead.
9. In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak / Again with the disturbing interpretations of what is “sexual content”. Really, naked babies? Who hasn’t seen a naked baby running around? Come on. They’re just jealous that he got a Caldecott Honor.
10. The Rabbit’s Wedding by Garth Williams / Another adorable story of (note: animal) love and family that is twisted around by bigoted extremists. Luckily, Williams gets the last word, saying,
“I was completely unaware that animals with white fur, such as white polar bears and white dogs and white rabbits, were considered blood relations of white human beings. I was only aware that a white horse next to a black horse looks picturesque.”
He went on to say that adults “will not understand it, because it is only about soft furry love and has no hidden message of hate.”
Here’s to little black and white bunnies, and freedom! Happy Banned Books Week.