I myself became aware of Banned Book Week by looking at a Tweet. The author was Laurie Halse Anderson, who was frustrated at the fact that her books were being challenged, and had written a compelling post about the use of storytelling to convey a message. I started this week’s discussion with an excerpt from that post.
I then read of Ellen Hopkins, who had started this week fit to be tied because a school visit she’d scheduled was cancelled because a parent of that school had challenged her book. She came out more reasoned in Lee Wind’s interview.
I also hit Twitter, searching for the topic under the hashtag #bannedbookweek. And therein found a meaningless drone that reminded me of cable news. I found the same post over and over, increasing awareness of the week’s theme through an ever-increasing network through idealistic repetition.
If words were power, I thought, why are we limiting ourselves to the same ones? How does saying: “It’s #bannedbookweek! Read a banned book! I’m reading…” truly compel?
Where’s the story?
So, I’d like to end #bannedbookweek with the story. Rather, with the first lines of the top ten most challenged stories of 2008, according to the American Library Association.
- “In the zoo there are all kinds of animal families.” And Tango Makes Three
- “Lyra and her daemon moved through the darkening hall, taking care to keep to one side, out of sight of the kitchen.” His Dark Materials (trilogy)
- “SnowAngel: hey, mads! 1st day of 10th grade down the tube – wh-hoo!” TTYL (Internet Girls series)
- “A boy was digging at the edge of the garden when he saw a big toe.” Scary Stories (series)
- “Ultima came to stay with us the summer I was almost seven. When she came the beauty of the llano unfolded before my eyes, and the gurgling waters of the river sang to the hum of the turning earth. ” Bless Me, Ultima
- “Dear Friend: I am writing to you because she said you listen and understand and didn’t try to sleep with that person at that party even though you could have.” The Perks of Being A Wallflower
- “Hey people! Ever wondered what the lives of the chosen ones are really like?” Gossip Girl (series)
- “Chloe loves her Uncle Bobby.” Uncle Bobby’s Wedding
- “I became what I am today at the age of twelve, on a frigid overcast day in the winter of 1975.” The Kite Runner
- “Emily is pretty sure her life couldn’t be any more complicated.” Flashcards of My Life
Now. Go. Read a bit more. Discuss.