Banning Books

Moderator: ACOT Employee

Post Reply
User avatar
Flasher
Cherry Delight
Posts: 29670
Layouts: 269
Location: The Shores of Lake Erie

Banning Books

Post by Flasher » Wed May 06, 2015 1:17 pm

Let's get feisty! 

I just watched a news story about school districts in North Carolina and Idaho where parents are lobbying to have "Of Mice and Men" and "The Kite Runner" banned from their children's schools.  It was said that "Of Mice and Men" was "too dark", and that "The Kite Runner" contained an all too graphic sexual assault. 

So, what are your thoughts on this?  For me, I was not bothered by "Of Mice and Men".  I have never read "The Kite Runner", so I can't speak to that.  I will say that for me, the most disturbing book I read in school was "Lord of the Flies".  The very thought of that book still makes me uncomfortable to this day.

All that being said . . . I'm pretty sure that given today's movies and video games, not to mention a 24 hour all world news feed, that todays kids are exposed to things a lot more dark than "Of Mice and Men", and a lot more sexually graphic and violent than "The Kite Runner".

Discuss.

Image
I don't know what my spirit animal is, but I'm pretty sure it has rabies.

 

User avatar
christinec68
Cherry Bomb
Posts: 3242
Layouts: 244

Re: Banning Books

Post by christinec68 » Wed May 06, 2015 2:32 pm

How about the parents who don't want their kids to read those books ban them in their own house and let other parents worry about what their kids read?

User avatar
CarrieG
Chocolate Covered Cherry
Posts: 8615
Layouts: 1206
Location: Texas

Re: Banning Books

Post by CarrieG » Wed May 06, 2015 2:34 pm

i do not believe that ANY pieces of literature should be banned on the whole.  What i do think, is that age and environmental appropriateness should be considered.
the culture my kids are growing up in is much more diverse than the one I grew up in....and what never would've been controversial then....is now on a million levels.
There is always the one student or parent looking for something (and finding it) to raise a stink about  :(   In the last couple of years I have noticed a trend in our local school district to try and diffuse hostile situations.....AP American Literature  now sticks to the very fundamental pieces in our literary history--and alternate class is offered called 'History thru Literature' that offers a WIDE array of literary works to be read......as this is a class you can CHOOSE to take and are willing to take knowing the *risk*........it seems to go more calmly and intellectually.  I do not believe the real issues are 'dark' or 'violent' but that there are many racial and socio economic issues that are striking MASSIVE chords in America.........

Loved 'Of Mice and Men'....haven't read 'Kite Runner' and seeing as it is a relatively new book I am surprised it would be on a list...........
'Lord of the Flies' is actually in my list of Top 20 books...............disturbing yes............but could i see it happening...YES!

User avatar
MacSarah
Sweet Cherry Pie
Posts: 1113
Layouts: 274

Re: Banning Books

Post by MacSarah » Wed May 06, 2015 3:15 pm

I agree with Carrie.  I believe that it is the job of a parent to guide their child to appropriate literature, and older children and adults are perfectly capeable of putting down any book the pick up and find offensive.  I do not think that it is the job of an institution to dictate what is available.

My 10 year old DD just finished "To Kill a Mockingbird".  Her teacher called and asked me if I was aware that she was reading it and if I was ok with it.  I suggested it to DD, actually.  The only line I have ever drawn was when my DD who was 15 at the time wanted to read "50 Shades of Gray", surely she can wait...  or not let me know about it.

Edited to Add:  I just might suggest that both the girls read "Of Mice and Men" next.  We can have our own little family book club.  It is one of my favorites.
~Sarah~

User avatar
blbabe1234
Cherry Bark
Posts: 65803
Layouts: 2965
Location: Corpus Christi, TX

Re: Banning Books

Post by blbabe1234 » Wed May 06, 2015 3:17 pm

I have never read those 2 books in question, so I cannot comment, but I remember Lord of the Flies. Not much literature sunk in my head long enough for me to remember so I can't really comment on that either.

HOWEVER...

I did read "Not Without My Daughter" when I was a Freshman in HS. I thought it was too dark, and IMO too much of a read for a 14 yr old. However, its an interesting read as its based on a true story of an American woman and her daughter who visit Iran with her new husband. Its supposed to be a short visit but they are held there against their will. Later on, the wife can leave but the guy wants to keep the daughter in Iran. Horrible story, but its true.

I don't think any form of literature should ever be banned from schools. With every generation, cultures and way of life change, and the way we think change. Stereotypes change as well.I mean, look at "Huckleberry Finn". In today's eyes/ears, its racist and even uses racial slurs (I'm not even gonna type it out...ya know what I mean). But we are not going to ban the book as its listed as one of the great works of literature.
~ Brandy Williams ~


Image 
Image 

Visit my blog - Brandy's Lab

User avatar
Celticrose
Sweet Cherry Pie
Posts: 1984
Layouts: 69
Location: Pennsylvania

Re: Banning Books

Post by Celticrose » Wed May 06, 2015 5:59 pm

CarrieG
i do not believe that ANY pieces of literature should be banned on the whole.  What i do think, is that age and environmental appropriateness should be considered.
 
My thoughts exactly.  The idea of banning books is horrible to me.  I have read many of the books that often appear on banned/challenged lists...many of them as required readings for school.  I am thankful that I went to a school district that allowed open discussion of those books and encouraged us to think intelligently about what the authors were trying to say.  I am also thankful that a love of reading was ingrained in me from the beginning and that unless a book would have been highly inappropriate for my maturity level, I was allowed to explore the world of books. 

A few of you already mentioned that it is the parents' job to know what their kids are reading and either decide that they need to be older, or in most cases, be willing to discuss the books with their kids to make sure they comprehend the subject matter. 
ImageImageImage

User avatar
average_kim
Cherry Cropper
Posts: 10371
Layouts: 844

Re: Banning Books

Post by average_kim » Wed May 06, 2015 6:04 pm

I don't usually get into debates . . . not so quick thinking on my feet, lol.  But I don't think literature should be banned, either.  I agree with Carrie, that it should be age appropriate.  And then taught as literature--draw your own opinions and ideas.  Even with some of the racial slurs in To Kill a Mockingbird and Huckleberry Finn . . . what were the authors truly trying to get across?  (I've never read all of Huckleberry Finn, I admit).  I mean teach the kids what we should learn NOW from the works of the past . . . In To Kill a Mockingbird, Atticus stood up for what was right, even if it was socially unacceptable and dangerous to his life and family . . . one of my favorite lines was when he told his kids that he tried to be the same person outside his house as he was inside . . . .

If you look at any major literary works there's some crazy stuff in there--I almost hated teaching Romeo and Juliet--these teenagers are so in love and can't live without each other--or wait a while to grow up that they commit suicide??  Eye roll . . . 
Kim

Image Image  

User avatar
average_kim
Cherry Cropper
Posts: 10371
Layouts: 844

Re: Banning Books

Post by average_kim » Wed May 06, 2015 6:09 pm

And, on the idea of banning books from a school library, sometimes books are put there that shouldn't.  I read Danielle Steele books in high school--and I believe they were availble to all 7-12 graders (20+ years ago).  Crazy to think about that now!  But the lady in charge of the library was a fan, and that's what she wanted to read--all the latest ones!  When I was in a Masters class for Library Science, I learned that you can't take one off the shelf once it was placed in a school library--if someone tried, that would be "banning" the book. But if I were in charge of my high school library, some of those may have gotten "lost." lol!
Kim

Image Image  

User avatar
redsonic20
Cherry Cropper
Posts: 11966
Layouts: 116

Re: Banning Books

Post by redsonic20 » Wed May 06, 2015 6:22 pm

I agree with others.  It depends on how old the children are and if the books are age appropriate.  If a book is being used in school and is in a whole a GOOD book (let's not go setting out to put 50 Shades of Gray on children's reading lists), provided it's age appropriate, I don't see it as harmful.  I was reading VERY violent true crime books in middle school.  They are by Ann Rule who writes about not only the crimes, but the victims and the murderers.  There was only one that I picked up and couldn't finish (the I-5 Killer) because of how graphic it was...when I finally took the bookmark out of it because I needed it for a different book, it had been so long there was an impression left from where the bookmark was (it was a metal one, so pretty thick).  Odd part about it is that many of these books that I read without flinching are things I couldn't read without balling up in tears now as I am hit a lot harder with reading about death in general, but also because a lot of the books featured are of mothers murdering their children (my heart cannot handle these types of things anymore).  These were books I began reading because I was bored and borrowed them from my Mom...so clearly she saw nothing wrong with a 12-14 year old reading them.  BUT, I was at home reading these books (possibly during SSR as well)

That being said, I do think that if parents have to sign permission slips to allow their children to participate in sex ed, if a book includes something graphic in a sexual or particularly violent manner, a parent should have the right to veto a particularly graphic book.  If that means the child is sent to the library (or hallway) during the discussion of the book with an alternate assignment, sobeit.  I do, however, disagree with the blanket assumption that every household allows their children to watch graphic and violent shows and play violent video games, therefore a book containing tamer, but similar content is harmless.  Just because it's normal for many, doesn't mean that every educationally beneficial book with extreme violence or graphic sexual content should be used at school and thus ignore the concerns of the parents in the minority.

If it's a really big deal, perhaps these books can be restricted to summer reading lists and/or book reports as options on a list for those who may want to read them (and whose parents are okay with them) versus being open for group discussion.  Or even having a couple of class options where they are ultimately the same class with some teachers teaching one group of books and the others teaching another (but that could get complicated to sort through when scheduling students).
Denise

Visit My Blog:  Mamarazzi Scraps

User avatar
ernstem
Cherry Cola
Posts: 7172
Layouts: 19
Location: Wisconsin

Re: Banning Books

Post by ernstem » Wed May 06, 2015 7:00 pm

Well, I'm a licensed 7-12 English teacher. So yeah. You know my thoughts. I have taught Of Mice and Men to 10th grade. If a parent had a concern then we had an alternative in place. We never needed the alternative. I'm against banning books. YOU choose what you wan to read. YOU choose what is proper for your child/family/beliefs/etc. I always explained it like this: I hate peas. Hate them with a passion!  So should I try to have them removed from production because *I* don't like them? That would never happen. Don't decide what others can and cannot read.

User avatar
JulesinParadise
Tiki Bar Mgr
Posts: 7421
Layouts: 349

Re: Banning Books

Post by JulesinParadise » Sun Jul 05, 2015 4:06 pm

As an English teacher of 30 years (retired) and a library board member in my town for almost 3 years (also retired), I am very opposed to the banning of books.  If a parent objects to a book on a required reading list, alternatives are easily substituted.  Banning a book because one or a few parents object, is seldom grounds for banning of a book for all students.  JMHO
Image WAS a TIKI BAR GIRL AND ALWAYS WILL BE

User avatar
Art_Teacher
Cherry Addict
Posts: 28451
Layouts: 1683

Re: Banning Books

Post by Art_Teacher » Sun Jul 05, 2015 5:33 pm

I don't have children, but I have taught high school for 22 years.  Let me tell you, the surest way to grab a student's attention and have them clamoring to read a book would be to ban it!  Teenagers live to rebel. ;)  I don't think books should be banned, but like others said, they should be age appropriate.  As a voracious reader, I am sure I read above my age level in order to find books to challenge me.  The local librarian would ask me if my mother was okay with my choices, even when I was in college!  lol  I don't find much harm in reading books, even if they may be graphic, because if they are a class assignment, they will be discussed at length and the student will learn in a positive way.  Now, just having certain books in the library might cause issues and I feel that parents might need to sign off on students being able to borrow them.  However, if parents had to agree with everything we teach, we might not be able to teach anything...the whole aim of education is to move students outside their "box" that they are currently inhabiting.  I know of a parent who objected to her son having to carry the "baby" in parenting class, because she said he did not need to learn that at his age.  Well...that might be her belief, but he could be a parent sooner rather than later.  It definitely wouldn't hurt him any.  If parents have so many issues that they feel the need to ban books in public school, perhaps they would be better off with home schooling where they can have the choice of their child's curriculum.
Laura
 Image 

User avatar
Flasher
Cherry Delight
Posts: 29670
Layouts: 269
Location: The Shores of Lake Erie

Re: Banning Books

Post by Flasher » Sun Jul 05, 2015 6:18 pm

My homeschooled children did in fact read "Of Mice and Men" and most of the other "questionable" books out there.  Image

My daughter was/is more of a reader than my son.  I'm sure that many of the people who want to ban books would be interested in knowing that it was because of the questionable books that my daughter fell in love with reading.  Thanks to Slaughterhouse Five (which I know our local school district tried to ban many times over the years), she's a pretty big Kurt Vonnegut fan, although she likes Ray Bradbury and JD Salinger!
I don't know what my spirit animal is, but I'm pretty sure it has rabies.

 

User avatar
Art_Teacher
Cherry Addict
Posts: 28451
Layouts: 1683

Re: Banning Books

Post by Art_Teacher » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:59 pm

Laura wrote:My homeschooled children did in fact read "Of Mice and Men" and most of the other "questionable" books out there.  Image

My daughter was/is more of a reader than my son.  I'm sure that many of the people who want to ban books would be interested in knowing that it was because of the questionable books that my daughter fell in love with reading.  Thanks to Slaughterhouse Five (which I know our local school district tried to ban many times over the years), she's a pretty big Kurt Vonnegut fan, although she likes Ray Bradbury and JD Salinger!
Yeah, I know homeschool parents who are doing it right are encouraging their children to read classics and are probably not banning books, but helping their children choose books that they can stretch their minds while reading.  I just mentioned that because I think it is the only way that parents should be affecting the school curriculum.  Teachers have been educated to select curriculum for the betterment of all students, not just a select few, and I don't think parental input will make it better (just like state/political input isn't making it better, either. ;) )
Laura
 Image 

User avatar
1scrappymom
Cherry Garcia
Posts: 4004
Layouts: 635

Re: Banning Books

Post by 1scrappymom » Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:21 pm

I think the reason books are banned are often silly.  If there is a racial slur, then I think it opens a conversation to what the historical context the book was written in.  If we don't learn from our history...as the quote goes...we are doomed to repeat it.  There are many books (I think about Mark Twain and slavery) that have uncomfortable material, but if we don't talk about the subject and provide education, then we don't learn.  I agree I would not appreciate young children reading 50 Shades (that is assuming it is classified as "literature" LOL) but I don't think most of the books on the banned list are for sexual content.  

I agree with others...parents should take responsibility for what their children read (watch and do for that matter).
~Shannon
My Blog -->  blinnsblog
 

Post Reply

Return to “General Debate”