It’s hump day of Banned Book week. Yes, I know, traditionally “Hump Day” is Wednesday. But that’s based on a 5-day work week. I moved Hump Day to the 4.5th day for those of us who follow a 7-day/every-day work week). That settled, back to my rant. . I’ve been known to jest, “Ban my book, please…” (Especially after Vampire Baby and Not Norman were published.)
As the saying goes, “Most truth is said in jest.” True. But I wasn’t kidding. And I’m not now, either. With both of those books, Vampire Baby especially, what I found happened is that rather than buying and then banning it, parents, grandparents & librarians—yes librarians—school, public and private—ignore it, avoid it, don’t touch it, or read it… Ignore it and it will go away, they think and do.
In the case of Vampire Baby, I was told it was because vampires are “taboo subjects” in many schools. At library/educator conventions, including TLA and IRA, I tried to explain to passing browsers how Vampire Baby isn’t really about a vampire. I tried to get the librarian or teacher to see for themselves: “Look at it! Touch it! Read for yourself, you’ll see…” They’d shake their heads or walk on by.
As for Not Norman, a Goldfish Story: Now it’s hugely popular & timely! People—adults, children, librarians—take one look at that adorable brown face peeking through the fishbowl with a goldfish for a nose and want to scoop it up. But back in 2005, when Not Norman was published, that was not the case.
I’d be at events & book signings, and many browsers, even “friends” who’d bought every other book I’d written offhand, skirted right past.
After all, that brown boy didn’t look anything like their children, grandchildren, students… Even still today this may happen. I can’t say for sure because I’ve banned those places.
Is being officially “Banned” bad? Yes. No one else should be able to take away our right to choose what we read.
…and No. At least. to be banned, someone has to care enough, be passionate enough, committed enough to go through all the trouble it takes to have a book officially banned. Truthfully, selfishly, I’d rather my book be banned than ignored…
However, This is Banned Book Week! and so:
In honor of all those individuals and institution that went to all the time, trouble and expense—I’m talking hours and hours, sometimes years of trouble, People!—to get a book banned, let’s:
READ! READ! READ! All the BANNED BOOKS!
Here, courtesy of ALA is a list of the Most Frequently Challenged Children’s Books:
And, to challenge your knowledge of banned and challenged books, the NYPL Banned Book Quiz