It is Banned Books Week. Since Freedom of Speech is one of my top political issues I thought it would be worth doing a post on. One thing I didn’t expect though was to find my family has two of the top 10 challenged books in 2013. I say that because I have dozens of books/comics/graphic novels that could potentially be considered a lot more controversial than either of those on the list.
Here are the two banned book on the list that currently reside (quite enjoyably so) in my house:
1. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey
Reasons: Offensive language, unsuited for age group, violence
10. Bone (series), by Jeff Smith
Reasons: Political viewpoint, racism, violence
The first most widely banned book (or rather series) is Captain Underpants. It happens to be a favorite of one of my boys. Supposedly it is causing quite a stir with parents due to language that isn’t well suited for fourth graders. I decided to read one of the Captain Underpants books this morning. I found nothing I would consider obscene for a fourth grade boy. Actually I found it to be a pretty interesting read compared to most of the books my kids get at the book fair every time teacher conferences come around. It is also worth noting that this book series (and the Ninjago books) has actually been able to get my kid to read without being asked. That is quite a remarkable accomplishment.
If there are parents out there that don’t like Captain Underpants. Well, all I can say is tell your kids not read them. It seems pretty silly to keep children from being entertained and learning new concepts (which is what reading is really about). But hey, I have no problem with parents censoring their kids. It is only when those parents try to get books banned that I have an issue with those same parents. Banning Captain Underpants from school libraries will not protect anyone. I would think by the 21st century that parents would have learned to stop trying to keep their kids from learning new things. But that is the way it goes. Too often in history books have become banned ‘for the children’.
Number ten on the list I found to be an even more odd selection. I first started reading Bone back in the mid 90’s (I think, time is getting fuzzy). Bone is such an interesting series because it started humble (story-line wise), yet became such an epic adventure. I don’t recall any time when I would say the book is racist. And as to violence, I don’t see it being any more violent than older contemporary comics before the CCA. Actually if my kids ever really get into comics I would probably recommend the series to them. It really is a good series that can be enjoyed by all ages. I really fail to see how this would be considered a title for people to try banning.
Looking at the list of ten most challenged books I can maybe understand why parents are trying to get them banned from libraries (I still disagree, but do understand). Personally I think parents would do better to promote reading and expanding knowledge for their children. Banning books has never solved anything………
PS. The picture in this post has nothing to do with either book being talked about in the post. It is just an example of two graphic novels that would probably cause someone’s head to explode if they think Captain Underpants is extreme.