Sponsored by the American Library Association, Banned Books Week is “an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment”. Over the years, many books have been banned or challenged, i.e. attempts have been made to pull the book from a school or public library. The reasons for banning or challenging a book vary, but most of the time it comes down to sexual content or bad language. The Satanic Verses was banned throughout the Muslim world for religious blasphemy. Many books that deal with homosexuality have been challenged.
The list of banned or challenged books is quite eclectic, ranging from classics like The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (politically incorrect language) to The Catcher in the Rye (obscenity) to the Harry Potter series (magic and witchcraft – horrors!) to Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (satanic). That last one has me scratching my head.
Anyway, at the time of year, I often try to read a banned book. Because I’m currently judging two writing contests, my time is limited so I picked up a couple of challenged children’s books at the local library:
And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illus. by Henry Cole
NY: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c. 2005
At New York City’s Central Park Zoo, two male penguins fall in love and start a family by taking turns sitting on an abandoned egg until it hatches.
Walter the Farting Dog: Trouble at the Yard Sale
by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray, illus. by Audrey Colman
Dutton Children’s Books, c. 2004
Summary: After being sold at the family’s yard sale, Walter is put to use blowing up balloons for a clown who is bent on robbing banks, but he escapes and becomes a hero.
I was hoping to find the original Walter the Farting Dog but it was checked out so I figured the sequel will do. Apparently it was challenged for, I don’t know, farting?
Have you read a banned book lately?
w/a Lyndi Lamont
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