September 27, 2010

a tribute to my favorite banned book of all time

  • About the author EB

It feels weird to say “happy banned books week,” but happy banned books week! I guess it IS something to celebrate, that we’re still reading all these wonderful books that other people have tried to wrench from our hands. For anyone who doesn’t know, banned books week is “the only national celebration of the freedom to read.” If you click on that link, you can see the 10 most banned books of 2009, including our very own To Kill a Mockingbird, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this summer.

Though it didn’t make the top 10 list, my very own favorite banned book, Judy Blume’s Forever, gave me my own experience with censorship and book banning on a very small scale. I was always an active reader as a kid, and my mom, who isn’t a big book reader (she’s more into newspapers and magazines), would mostly just turn me loose in the bookstore with a limit to the number of books we could buy. I’m sure if I had turned up with something really age-inappropriate, she would have said something, but for the most part I was left on my own. By the time I picked out Forever, I had read most of Judy Blume’s other books, so my mom didn’t bat an eye. I read it in a day, dog-eared the pages with salacious stuff on them, and passed it on to all my friends in the fourth grade. It made the rounds without incident until it hit one friend who shall remain nameless.

A few years before, this girl’s mother had ambushed my mom in her car as she came to pick me up one day and tried to get her to sign a petition banning the book “Heather Has Two Mommies.” And now she had decided to throw her weight behind banning Forever—not from our school, but from our little group of friends. But despite her efforts (calling my mom, etc), all she managed to do was get my mom to tell me not to lend any more books to her daughter. And I didn’t—at least not for her to take home . . .

Have you ever had a personal experience with book banning? What’s your favorite banned book?

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