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Friday, February 13

The 2009 Banned Book Challenge

"The books that the world calls immoral are books that show the world its own shame."
- Oscar Wilde
If you're a bibliophile like me then you've likely read a banned book or two or three or four...and so on. If you don't think you've ever read a banned (or challenged) book, think again. I bet you've read them without even knowing it (peruse lists here, or here - you might be surprised). Often it is the best books that are banned, the books with the most potential to make us think and to change the world. That's why I've decided to launch the 2009 Banned Book Challenge. To participate read and follow the rules below. If you successfully complete the challenge by the end of the year I'll have a winner's badge for you to put on your blog.

Rules:

1. Read at least 5 of the 10 Most Challenged Books of 2007.

  • And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
  • The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
  • Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
  • The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • TTYL, by Lauren Myracle
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
  • It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
  • The Perks of Being A Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
2. Read a book by 5 of the Most Frequently Challenged Authors of 2007.
  • Robert Cormier
  • Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson
  • Mark Twain
  • Toni Morrison
  • Philip Pullman
  • Kevin Henkes
  • Lois Lowry
  • Chris Crutcher
  • Lauren Myracle
  • Joann Sfar
3. Read Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

4. Read any other four banned books of your choosing.

5. To accept the challenge comment on this post.

6. When you've completed the challenge comment again and provide a way for me to contact you so I can send you the winner's badge.

Extra Credit: Post the Challenge banner on your blog. Blog about the challenge and the books you're reading. Encourage friends and family to participate. Read this list of quotes about censorship.

FAQ:

What if I don't have a blog?

Then don't worry about the extra credit (though I still recommend reading the quotes and encouraging your friends/family to join in).

How do I put the challenge banner on my blog?

Copy and paste the code underneath the banner (to the right) into a HTML widget.

Do I get anything for doing the extra credit?

Yes, you will get a different winner's badge.

Will there be any "real" prizes?

Perhaps. But, as cheesy as it sounds, reading these books is its own reward.

Can I double up on requirements (i.e. read The Golden Compass to fulfill one of my five authors and one of my five from the 2007 Most Challenged list)?

No. 15 books may seem like a lot to those with busy schedules but it really isn't, especially since plenty of these banned books are childrens books/YA novels and won't take that long to read.

What if I've already read some of the books?

That's OK. You can read them again. But you can't count them unless you do, in fact, reread them.

Do audio books count?

Heck, yes!

Do movies of the books count?

No way!

How will you know if I really completed the challenge?

We're using the honor system. I'll take you at your word.

What if I can't find any banned books I'm willing to read because they're all offensive?

Then I'm afraid I can't help you. But you might want to try re-evaluating your world view.

What if I have a question you haven't answered here?

E-mail me at hollyvangogh at gmail dot com.

post signature

11 Stubborn Stains:

Holly Noelle said...

Of course I am doing the challenge! Now readers, WHO'S WITH ME?!

CrystalHW said...

I am with you! There are crazy people who ban or challange great books. For example, Harry Potter. I love Harry Potter! I have added the Banner not only to let others know, but also to remind myself of where to find the rules and such.
I am excited, actually. :)

chibi-brooke said...

Just a few random comments, for the sake of commenting:

What's wrong with Lois Lowry?

Phil Pullman is a jerk. =p

I did not enjoy "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings" and would not recommend it to anyone. Unless, you know, reading about getting raped by your father is your thing.

Holly Noelle said...

Lois Lowry = http://www.marshall.edu/library/bannedbooks/books/giver.asp

I'm no longer sure what I think of Phil Pullman.

And I won't comment on I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings until I've read it.

chibi-brooke said...

I guess I don't recall The Giver being "sexually explicit". I understand why books with sexual themes are usually challenged by schools ... why should we expect teenagers to not have sex/have responsible sex when we make them read books with sexual themes (sexual themes being something youth cannot understand because they have not experienced it ... I think it's mean to do that to kids!!)

It's hard to read books you can't relate to, especially ones about sex. At least with drugs you can see the effect it has on other people, and being high/drunk seems a lot like being sleep deprived.

I really had nothing against The Golden Compass (I still think I might read it some day) but I was turned off by the fact that Phil Pullman said he specifically wrote it to tear children away from God. It's like, "Okay, so you wrote a book for no reason other than to tick people off and offend some people's deepest held convictions?" I don't care whether or not anyone believes in God. Just don't be a jerk for the sake of being a jerk.

Holly Noelle said...

I dunno. I used to see it that way. But I can also see how it's "missionary work" so to speak for his atheist world view. I don't think it was about ticking people off. I think it's about honestly thinking something is a certain way and sharing that. I could see Muslims being ticked off by the Chronicles of Narnia (Lewis's bad guys in some of the books seem to be poorly veiled jabs at Middle Easterners/Muslims). But I certainly don't think Lewis had set out to bash anyone else's beliefs but rather proselytize for his own. However, when one's beliefs by nature contradict another's then there isn't much you can do (i.e. if you support atheism by nature you can't support Christianity). It's not fair to say he was being a jerk for the sake of being a jerk and I'm not convinced he was being a jerk.

I think sexual themes in schools can be OK if it's age appropriate. Whether teens are having sex or not they are physically changing and coming to terms with their entry into adulthood (including their sexuality). And we can't pretend they aren't in a culture inundated with sex. Here's an example of what I would consider a sexually themed book for teens: the book Speak. It's YA fiction (and very good). It's not encouraging teens to have sex. And it addresses a problem that (unfortunately) some teens have to face against their will. And it helps create sympathy for those who find themselves in such a crisis.

chibi-brooke said...

The Pullman quote I read sounded really arrogant and antagonistic, and that kind of attitude turns me off. (Not a fan of Malcolm X for the same reason.) I guess I don't like being forced by my school to read books simply because they're controversial. I read "A Child Called It" by choice (about child abuse) but I don't think I would have been as happy if it had been required by my teachers. I guess I'm a pretty pathetic rebel.

Holly Noelle said...

I don't think schools assign books *because* they're controversial. I think the books they assign happen to be controversial to *some* people. And sometimes the complaints are ridiculous (for example, To Kill A Mockingbird has been attacked for racist words...despite the fact that the book is anti-racism).

siermo said...

Ummm, I guess I'm reading things I "shouldn't" be...nothing new for me though. You know, Fahrenheit 451, was a required book in my Grade 8th year. Guess I've been corrupted since I was 13! Oops! I seriously won't get into the why books are banned in the first place arguement...just know I've 8 of the 2007 top ten banned books...all were thought provoking in their own way.

Peterson Family said...

Just read this and I am soooooo gonna do this!

Jamie said...

I am so totally in on this challenge! The shitty thing is that I think I've read nearly all of the 10 most challenged books of '07. I'll read them again, though. ;o)

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