It’s Banned Books Week, the American Library Association’s yearly event to spotlight attempts at censorship.
If you have a censorship story to tell, we want to hear it.
I come from a bookish people. My parents didn’t restrict my reading in any way and until I hit my tweens, I had never come across the concept of a book being “inappropriate.” At 12, I read well above my age group, within my age group, and was also a big fan of Clifford the Big Red Dog*. At 12 I also discovered that my friend’s new stepmom had opinions about what books were appropriate for young ladies. Initially I was thrilled to be considered a young lady by this woman who looked like she could be of the TV show Dallas. I remember sitting in the kitchen feeling like had entered The Twilight Zone while this woman served me cookies and told me Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret was too dangerous for me to read. I had read it many times, years earlier. I don’t remember how I responded. I’d like to think I defended Judy Blume, but I probably sat there, confused and polite, until I could escape. My mom confirmed that yes, there was an effort to ban the book from schools, though not in our city, or at my school.
My world view was shifted. Before that, I thought book banning was something that happened in history or in countries with dictators. Judy Blume’s books has been so important to me and people thought she was dangerous because she wrote about periods.
What is your banned books story? Did you have to sneak books? Have you read a book because it was banned or challenged? What is the dumbest reason you have heard for challenging a book? Post in the comments and share!
*Clifford the Big Red Dog has also been banned and challenged. The only reason I could find was because it promoted Communism. Because the dog is red and it teaches cooperation. This may be a scurrilous rumor.