"Every banned book enlightens the world." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson
I've always loved books. Big oversized hardcovers, thick paperbacks with the covers falling off, anything in between. From a very early age I was a voracious reader, glomming my way through an author's backlist once I'd discovered them. (Of course, at that time I didn't know what "glomming" or "backlist" meant -- I'd just run to the librarian, hand her a book and say, "What else have you got by this author?")
Which is why Banned Books Week is so important to me. So many of the books I see on those lists of challenged or banned books were ones I read and loved as a kid, and I'm appalled at the thought of other kids not having the opportunity to experience them as well.
I went searching, and found a couple of lists of challenged books: from 1990-2000, and 2000-2007. I wasn't school-age when these books were challenged, but I've read a LOT of them anyway. Some of my favorites?
Harry Potter series, JK Rowling (my kids glommed these this summer -- it was a kick discussing the stories with them!)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (damn fine YA novel.)
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (Are you KIDDING me?)
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (Ditto!)
Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes by Chris Crutcher (OMG best YA author for reluctant readers, esp. teen boys)
The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney (Made me cry)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Snow Falling on Cedars by David Guterson
And Tango Makes Three by Richardson and Parnell
Books on the list that I taught back when I was a junior high English teacher:
Go Ask Alice (companion to Romeo and Juliet, along with Like Water for Chocolate and other challenged books); Bless Me, Ultima; Summer of my German Soldier (in WWII unit, along with The Diary of Anne Frank.).
Books my kids love that I can't believe are on these lists:
The Junie B. Jones books
Anything by Shel Silverstein or Roald Dahl
Captain Underpants? Seriously?
So my Book BIN suggestion this week? Take a look at a list of challenged books, and go out and buy one. Support an author who's been affected. Read something wonderful. And then pass it on.