A few years ago, a group of parents protested the book, The Goats. I watched them march and carry protest signs on the evening news. I recalled that I had a copy of that book in my 7th grade classroom. Curious, I read the book during the next few days. It was about some kids who got bullied at summer camp. I guess those parents thought it might give ideas to kids interested in bullying. Actually, no one had been interested in the book on my shelf until the fuss was made about it. Then it became a very popular book among my students. The book was banned in a nearby city.
Another book that comes to mind is Go Ask Alice, which is the actual diary of a young girl who became addicted to drugs, which took her life. The mother found the diary and had it published hoping it would deter other young people from following her daughter's footsteps. In the diary, the girl gave explicit examples of her reactions to drugs and dependence on them, how they ruined her life, and how her addiction destroyed her family. This book was one of many books sent to our school by the Dept. of Education, as books young adults should read. Many girls told me how the book opened their eyes to the dangers of drug use. I heard, "I'll never use drugs after what happened to Alice," more than once.
One day I received a complaint from a mother whose daughter had taken the book home to read. I told the mother it wasn't required reading; the girl had chosen it for a book report. She was free to choose another book. However, the mother didn't just not want HER daughter to not read it, she didn't want anyone to read it. She went to the principal and threatened to take it before the school board unless the book was taken off the shelf. The principal removed the book from my classroom library. That is book banning. It made me sick.
by Marlis Day, author of The Secret of Bailey's Chase
Visit me at http://wwwmarlisday.blogspot.com
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