Welcome to my blog. I often think I was born with a book in my hand. I have always enjoyed reading, but more importantly, talking about books. This blog is partially about reviews, but is really a forum to talk about what I'm reading, and express all of the thoughts and feelings that there simply isn't room for in a professional review. I look forward to hearing your thoughts on your favourite books as you follow my reading journey.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Banned Books and Unsuitable Reads

At some point in your reading experience as children/teens, somebody probably once tried to tell you that a book you wanted to read was unsuitable. If you were anything like me, it only made you want to read it all the more. Nothing piqued my interest like being told that I was too young or it was too hard, and by hook or by crook I would find a way to read that book.

In a recent article in the Guardian newspaper, YA author Patrick Ness suggested his top ten picks for books that are considered unsuitable for teens, but that they should read anyway. Here is the link to the full article:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/childrens-books-site/2011/apr/08/patrick-ness-top-10-unsuitable-books-teenagers

Coincidentally, this article came out roughly at the same time as the ALA most frequently challenged books of (http://www.oif.ala.org/oif/?p=2008) 2010. 

Though nobody (that I'm aware of) has published such a list in Canada, there have been quite a few titles from the Ontario Forest of Reading Lists that have been challenged and banned. Just last year, Anne Laurel Carter's book The Shepherd's Granddaughter came under fire after complaints from parents and Jewish groups alledging an anti Israel bias. To make matters worse, a  trustee for Toronto Centre-Rosedale vowed to have the book removed from school shelves, but admitted to not having read it. (In the end the board voted not to remove the book) Disagreeing with an author's perspective is a personal perogative, but at least read the book first and be prepared with ammunition to defend your claim. (I have read it and didn't find evidence of bias)

I'm not a parent, but my view has always been we censor because something makes us uncomfortable, and not because it bothers the child. Books should make us think and feel, and discuss, and instead of telling children why they shouldn't read these books, there should be more people out there like Patrick Ness who tell them why they should.