Hopper1 Daniel Hopper Instructor Myers ENG 1101 7 November 2013 Book Censorship An orphan boy with the

power of a magic wizard, a boy running away from home with a slave, and two male penguins raise a baby penguin together; these are some of the plot lines of the many books that shaped America. Imagine books as famous as these banned from the local library. With over 5,000 complaints on over one hundred books in the past decade alone, for problems such as; language, sexual content, or anything harmful to children, and the list goes on and on (ALA). Books are challenged every single day by local libraries, schools, and even individual people. Luckily, Banned Book Week joined the fight against censorship. The group’s main goals are to, keep books from censorship, keep them from change, and keep the literature natural. Throughout the past decades, local schools and libraries have come to the task to ban books that could be harmful to the people. There is a certain process to try and get a book taken off the shelves of a library. When someone finds content in a book harmful, they can challenge the book, and send their complaint to The Office of Intellectual Freedom. Basically, challenging a book means to send in a complaint about the book. The problem is then brought to court, where the decision is made whether to keep the book, or have the book censored or even taken off the shelves permanently. The problem with challenging a book is that a single person could ruin it

Hopper2 for everyone else, just because they have a problem with it. If a parent has a problem with their child reading a certain book, they should just request their child not read the book. Why ruin the ability to read a book for everyone, it’s not fair to everyone else. “Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum of the library, thereby restricting the access of others as such, they are a threat to freedom of speech and choice,” (Barbara Stripling). Along with the challenged books came a list of the most challenged books in America. Created by The American Library Association, first developed in the early 90s, a list called the Top Ten Most Challenged books hit the scene. The list works like a most popular list, the ten books with the most challenges makes the list. The books can be challenged by schools, libraries, groups, or individuals. All kinds of books have been challenged, from young adult to children’s books, even history books. It doesn’t matter how old the book is or even how many times it’s been on the list. Any book can be challenged at any time. Hundreds of filed complaints storm in each year, with as many as 5,000 challenges in the past two decades. From 1982 to currently, there has been over 11,000 challenges (LOC). According to the American Library Association the challenged subjects include the following: 1577 challenged for sexually explicit material, 1291 for strong language, 989 for unsuited age groups, 619 for violence, 361 for homosexuality, 291 for religion, 274 for Satanic worship, and 119 for antifamily. The list of subjects goes on and on. The number one most challenged book over the past two decades was awarded to The Harry Potter Series, for its use of black magic and anti-family. Even though it has been challenged more than any other book, it remains one of the most popular book series of all time.

Hopper3 Banning books is one thing, but to change certain parts is a crime. In 2012, the book The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn was edited to use the word slave, instead of words that were to offensive for some. To do something like that would be like taking a painting from Picasso, then erasing part of the painting. Kids should have the right to know how literature was written back then, and how it has changed in the past decades. To censor part of the book, is keeping a secret from a child. I can understand how it might be out of an age range, but that can easily solved by changing the grade the book should be assigned. It’s not fair to take pieces out of the book. The book is usually read at a later high school level. At that age, teenagers know what kind of language was used back then, to sensor a word that was appropriate at the time doesn’t teach kids anything. In a way it’s a history lesson. According to The Library of Congress, Huckleberry Finn was one of the many books that had shaped America. To ban something that represented America hundreds of years ago would be like changing a history book. It’s detracting teenagers from their education. This book provides great intellect toward books that can really change the way we see literature today. It’s not only young adult books that can cause such an epidemic, but also children’s books. It can be said that a children’s book can create precious memories. The point of a children’s book is to encourage a child’s imagination, bring them whimsy and wonder. Books like that can speak a thousand words for a child. Books can be the best part of someone’s childhood. Unfortunately, children’s books can’t escape being challenged. I can understand a parent being concerned about what their child’s reading but, at some point, the child’s going to learn about it. Some of the most challenged children’s books are; Where the Wild Things Are, And Tango Makes Three, and Captain Underpants. The main problem for Where the Wild Things Are was the page that displayed a young boy’s penis. All boys have a penis, so why

Hopper4 would it be harmful for a boy to see a body part they already have? According The Top Ten Most Challenged Books, And Tango Makes Three, made the number one spot four times. The story is about two male penguin who get together to raise a baby penguin. Homosexuality was the main concern. For children’s books, homosexuality is the most challenged topic in this debate. This year’s latest addition and first time appearance on the list is The Adventures of Captain Underpants. Captain Underpants made this year’s number one spot over several other choices. Captain Underpants was charged with being too inappropriate, due to its grotesque humor of cartoon violence and fart jokes. To argue against this charge, the kinds of jokes made in The Captain Underpants series are the exact jokes kids make. It’s the exact modern humor kid’s use today. As a second defense, the cartoons kids watched in the 70s and 80s were far worse than the cartoons that are made today. The 70s and 80s defined the age of cartoon violence and an inappropriate sense of humor. If a parent had watched those kinds of shows in their childhood, it’s very hypocritical to challenge a book that contains cartoon violence. The list stops for no books, even the factual books are not protected from the list. On CNN News, A local librarian was interviewed about some schools actually banning The Diary of Ann Frank. Librarian Judith Krug explained that she “isn’t surprised that people are trying to ban books.” The reason why Ann Frank was banned? Local schools say it’s “A real downer.” The fact that they tried to ban this book because it was a downer, is a ridiculous one. “Well, yeah I guess the Holocaust was a Downer” says Krug. Banning a book based on a historical figure as important as Ann Frank takes it to a whole new level. Kids and teenagers have the right for an education, therefore they should get the privilege to learn about what had actually occurred in those times. According to Krug, it’s silly to try and ban a book like that. It’s

Hopper5 amusing to see what excuse people will come up with to attempt to challenge a book. I would agree with the other side in one instance, freedom of speech. Someone has the right to speak out against a book, just like we have the right to fight against that. As witnessed, any book could be at risk of censorship, a book can be taken out of a library, and it can even be banned online. Online reading seems to be the new phenomenon nowadays, reading from the access of an electronic. Sadly, even the online world faces censorship. In a more recent paper, The independence on Sunday, released an article dealing with the manner of E-books. E-books have decided to ban the book Fifty Shades of Gray for its eroticist storyline. Fearing it would even be too graphic for written words; E-books took a stand to permanently ban the book from its store. It goes to show, that even an adventurous place like the internet can be concerned with what we the people read. The internet is known as a dangerous place, with its content and manipulation. The worry with banning books online could lead someone to search the internet for something far more graphic than a written erotic novel. It could turn out to be a bad thing in some cases. With all of this banning, groups finally take a stand for the books that were once gone, only to return even stronger than before. Banned Books Week was finally created to take a stance for those books that faced the punishment of censorship. Banned Book Week is an event held from September 22-28. The week was created by several major groups from the reading industry; the ALA, LOC, even local bookstores and libraries. The Goal is to bring back those books that were kept in censorship and then taken back out in the name of freedom. During this week, local heroes are chosen for their bravery to fight for the books that were challenged at any point. Any act to fight against censorship would be helpful to this industry. Take books out of the shadow and put them back in the spotlight, as they were intended to be.

Hopper6 Banning books can make a huge effect on today’s educational system. To lose even a small section of a book can make a huge impact on a child’s right to learn, it deprives them from their learning. Even though censorship still occurs in our modern day society, something is being done to revolt against censorship and banishment. By the end of this paper, I would hope to influence the reader to take the side of anti-censorship. Let a book be free, let it be read, and let it be learned.