Friday, September 30, 2011

TGIF - Banned Books

TGIF is hosted by the Lovely Ginger at GReads! She also made the graphic! Click the image to visit her!

This weeks Question:

How do you feel about the censorship of the freedom to read? Do you think the education system needs to be more strict on what children are exposed to in books?

I believe it is a direct violation of my First Amendment rights for the Government to dictate what I can read. It is by these rights that America lives as a free nation and we must maintain them all to stay so.

I chose to discuss a few books that have been banned for political and cultural reasons starting with All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque because it was found insulting to Nazi Germany (ya think?).

Operation Dark Heart by Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer is a memoir that was banned in 2010 by the U.S. Department of Defense they believed it contained classified information that could put the U.S. at jeopardy. The Department of Defense along with St. Martins Press collaborated and reissued a second edition that has blacked out words, paragraphs and parts of the index!

I feel it's necessary to bring in Uncle Toms Cabin (1852) by Harriet Beecher Stowe, banned at the time of publication for its anti-slavery content. Interestingly it was also banned in in Russia under the reign of Nicholas I due to the idea of equality it presented, and for its "undermining religious ideals". (Wikepedia)

Here's an interesting Ban that relates to a banned 'Children's book'. You might be surprised to know that The Merriam Webster was banned in a California elementary school in January 2010 for its definition of oral sex."It's just not age appropriate," a district representative said.
(The Huffington Post)

I remember as a child in Elementary School looking up 'Fart', 'Intercourse' and 'Penis' and other words that would make us giggle in the library! Who cares! To ban a Dictionary, especially Merriam Webster, because it has a definition of oral sex is ridiculous! The definition that caused it to be banned is as follows:


Definition of ORAL SEX: oral stimulation of the genitals : cunnilingus, fellatio

See oral sex defined for English-language learners »

First Known Use of ORAL SEX: 1973

Rhymes with ORAL SEX:
belowdecks, biconvex, circumflex, Cornish rex, cross-index, Devon rex, gentle sex, googolplex, haruspex, intersex, Malcolm X, megaplex, Middlesex, multiplex, PBX, pontifex, price index, retroflex, spinifex, subindex, thumb index, unisex belowdecks, biconvex, circumflex, Cornish rex, cross-index, Devon rex, gentle sex, googolplex, haruspex, intersex, Malcolm X, megaplex

Me thinks they were probably doing this before 1973 ;o]

Wonderful books such as Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck have been banned off and on throughout the ages and are still banned at certain schools.

I didn't read Of Mice and Men in High School like so many of you because my strict Parochial school felt it wasn't appropriate. I didn't even know it existed until I became an adult and that is a just SAD!

I was reading Historical Romance aka Busty Beauty and Lusty Loin books from the time I was 12 and just about everything else I could get my hands on but many of the classics were beyond my scope at that time because I wasn't introduced to them in school. I would have loved to read books like Of Mice and Men in a classroom atmosphere and then slowly discussed and digested it!

When it comes to my children, I have encouraged them to read what interests them, one of my boys is a complete and utter Zombie lover! I'm sure many parents wouldn't agree but I feel he is mature enough to handle it; in fact, he reads many of the same books as I do. That is my choice because I know him best!

I do believe it is the parents choice to decide what their child reads as only they know what they can handle. Is a book going to frighten them so badly that they'll have nightmares? Only you really know that (hopefully) or will the maturity level be outside the scope of their understanding?

When it comes to children's books, I think censorship and banning is an extremely sticky wicket. There are many crusaders out there trying to ban books for all the wrong reasons and those that are doing it because they believe they are protecting our youth.

Healthy debate and knowledge are the best defense-books and their content are always viewed subjectively which makes it all that much more difficult.

I believe we can avoid censorship and banning in our perspective areas by opening minds and using our First Amendment Rights along with our individual Parental Responsibility and Accountability to know what is appropriate for our own children to read.


  1. I agree--I also think it's interesteding that a lot of the people who are advocating banning books are the same ones who are against the government controlling their lives. Why don't they try practicing what they preach?

  2. I'm sorry, did I read that correctly that someone had the dictionary banned? What? Has there been some sort of scientific study I'm not aware of that proves reading the definition of oral sex will automatically result in the physical exploration of said definition? Um, no. I don't understand banning books at all, it's unfathomable to me!

  3. Some of the strangest things are banned. Really what is it with the "correct" police? Shouldn't we encourage communication between parent and child rather than dictate it? *sigh*

    Well, all that is left to say about your post is that this was brilly and well said!

  4. @Rubita-Exactly!

    @Jenny-You read correctly, Chica! This happened just last year and the definition I posted is the one that they objected to. Also, The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is the most used dictionary for school spelling bees!

    @Melissa-Right on, Chicky-poo!

  5. OMG--How do you ban the dictionary! That is just insane! 90% of this is because of closed mindedness and maybe 10% due to age appropriateness which should be the real issue.

    Thanks for the visit and the follow..I am now following you as well.

    ♥ Melissa @ Melissa's Eclectic Bookshelf

  6. Oh my gosh Kristi- I love your blog.. Thanks for stopping by today. Its so great when I connect with other moms..:)

    I cant believe a dictionary was banned...thats just nuts!!