Banning and censorship in children's literature.
Banning and censorship of children’s literature directly comes from the Library Bill of Rights, Article 3 that states, “Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibilities to provide information and enlightenment” (ALA Library Bill of Rights, 2011). While many individuals, like myself, would think the number of books challenged each year would be rather minimal, I was shocked to learn that “There are hundreds of challenges to books in schools and libraries in the United States every year” (Kennedy, 2011). “According to the American Library Association, there were 348 challenges reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom in 2010, and many more go unreported” (Banned Book Week, 2011).
Challenging or banning a text does not vanquish the piece from existence. It is simply is an effort to put some restriction on the access of the piece and possibly remove it from the library or educational syllabus.
The book I was most shocked to find in the top challenged titles from 2010 was, Twilight (series), by Stephanie Meyer. Knowing the great popularity of the Twilight (series) and how it is even greatly increased with the release of the movies, I was shocked to see this saga in a list of challenged texts. The reasons listed, “sexually explicit, religious viewpoint, violence, unsuited to age group” seem a bit extreme in my opinion (Banned Book Week, 2011). I was surprised that there was not an issue with the vampire aspect but more an issue of the inappropriate connection of the characters, and mostly was considered sexually explicit. In my opinion the series should not be under such scrutiny. The setting is high school and the audience appears to be for a mature teen. Maybe 50 years ago this type of stories and relationships were more frowned upon. But today it seems more commonplace. I am not advocating that the decay of society is good, but rather where it is.
In my opinion, parents really need to step in here. Most parents screen movies, why would they not screen their Childs literature. I would imagine most kids hear way worse things on the playground or bus ride to school. I am reminded of a friend of mine that has a 4 year old that reads. My friend mentioned that he must be careful what magazines and books he leaves lying around his home, as his young son reads everything. There are some things a child should not read. This once again is the parent’s responsibility to protect the child.
"ALA Library Bill of Rights." ALA Home - American Library Association. Web. 01 Dec. 2011.
Banned Books Week. Web. 01 Dec. 2011.
Kennedy, Elizabeth. "Censorship and Banned Children's Books and Books for Teens." Children's Books - Reviews Articles Lists of Best Children's Books. Web. 01 Dec. 2011.