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simplydevastated posted 10/21/2013 09:11 AM

My son comes home from school Friday and tells me that there is a bookshelf in his library that has "crime scene" tape stretched across it. The kids all asked the librarian why and she said that those are banned books and that the kids are not allowed to check them out. She also said that she's been fighting to try and get them "not banned."

I asked my son if she said why they were banned. He told me that someone in the school/school committee read the books and decided they were not "appropriate" for the kids to read.

So, this is where I get pissed. First, banning books is wrong. Plain and simple. Second, no one has the right to tell my son what he can and can't read. I have told him that there are "age appropriate" books that he can't read right now, but when he's older if he wants to read them that will be his decision. I wouldn't expect to see a child reading War and Peace.

I then asked him what books are banned. Here's a few that he could remember and why.

1. The Lorax - Banned because it was the words "shut up" in it.

2. Charlotte's Web - Because it's an insult to God to have the animals talk because animals don't talk in real life. (Yes this is what he was told )

3. Anne Frank - Because of the content.

There are more, but those are the books that he could remember.

Part of me wants to march down to the school and scream at everyone I come in contact with because this is wrong on so many levels, but I don't want to say anything because my son goes to school there and I don't want any backlash coming down on him.

The another part of me wants to go there and simply talk to the librarian and tell her that both her and my son have my permission to check out any of the books in the bookcase because I'm his mother and I'm the only one that can make that decision for him about what he reads at this age and what he doesn't read.

To make matters worse, I told my mother about this who told my sister and now she wants to post about it on FB and include my son's school name. Which I don't feel is her place to do something like that.

For the record - I've taught him all about Anne Frank, The Holocaust, Hitler, the camps, etc... so this book wouldn't be too hard for him to handle. It might be above his reading level, but the content would be fine since he knows about it already.

[This message edited by simplydevastated at 9:12 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

tushnurse posted 10/21/2013 09:33 AM

This kind of nonesense make me insane.

Seriously? Charlottes Web?
It's a work of fiction for Christ's sake. Please tell me this is a private school. Otherwise I would be all over them with Church and State issues. If it is a private school, I'm sure they can get away with that, but before they choose to ban the books the list of books needs to be voted on by more than 1 person, and this list needs to be reviewed and approved throught the PTO.

Anne Franke Should NOT be banned. We already have people that question that the Holocaust actually happened, so let's hide it from the kids that will make it all better.

Censorship is not ok, it's the wrong message to kids, it's the wrong way to teach and parent. If you as a parent don't want your kid to read something, then it's up to you to tell them why, and limit that. IT is NOT the job of the school to do this.

If I were you SD I'd be on the phone finding out the details on this sooner than later so you know which way to best proceed.

simplydevastated posted 10/21/2013 09:50 AM

TN, I feel the same way you do.

This is a public school. The Catholic school my kids went to originally didn't censor books.

I think Charlotte's web is a fantastic book and one of my favorites. I explained to my son that animals do talk but in a language that we don't understand. If a dog barks or growls at another dog, that other dog knows exactly what is going on. I said that if someone from China started speaking Chinese to him and he didn't understand it doesn't make Chinese a "non-language" because it's not English.

I have a meeting at school on Wednesday and I'm thinking about asking to see the library while I'm there so I can see this shelf and talk to the librarian.

TrulyReconciled posted 10/21/2013 10:04 AM

Have your son approach the Librarian with a 'finger gun' and demand one!

On second thought ....

darkbeast posted 10/21/2013 10:11 AM

Maybe I'm wrong, but this sounds like an educational display to point out that books have historically been banned for ridiculous reasons.

If they were actually banned at that school, then they wouldn't be in the library at all. The crime scene tape is drawing attention to the books--the goal of the display.

If you really feel the need to contact the librarian, make sure you compliment her on a job well done--she has her students and their parents talking about "banned" books.

StillGoing posted 10/21/2013 10:14 AM

Do you live in Kansas by any chance? I remember the Charlotte's Web book being banned for that reason years ago down there. Apparently it was banned in Britain somewhere for fear the pig would offend Muslim readers.

Captain Underpants has been banned a lot recently.


What darkbeast said makes a lot of sense. It would be all over the news if they banned that book for the same reason again somewhere else, I'd think.

[This message edited by StillGoing at 10:16 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

lost_in_toronto posted 10/21/2013 10:23 AM

I agree with darkbeast, and would maybe try to clarify the reason for this display with the librarian.

As an aside, I know there was a woman somewhere who was trying to get The Diary of Anne Frank banned because it contains the word "vagina." I'm not sure why the word vagina is more offensive than the holocaust. Crazy.

I also read somewhere about a group of loggers attempting to get The Lorax banned because it cast the logging industry in a bad light. Also crazy.

ETA - the crime scene tape and Halloween made me wonder if it was a display, too.

[This message edited by lost_in_toronto at 10:24 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

simplydevastated posted 10/21/2013 10:26 AM

That's why I want to talk to the librarian while I'm at the school Wednesday. I want to get both sides. If they are truly banning then I'm going to pissed. If it is just and "educational" tool then it needed to made clear. I asked my son what the other kids said about not being able to check out the books and he said "they said that sucks."

I'm thinking that it's not a display because he did tell me that the librarian is fighting to get the books "not banned."

Nope, not in Kansas. I'm in Massachusetts.

Apparently it was banned in Britain somewhere for fear the pig would offend Muslim readers.

It would be only if people know about it. No letter came home talking about it and if the kids don't mention it to their parents then who would notify the press?

Have your son approach the Librarian with a 'finger gun' and demand one!

On second thought ....

Sure thing, if I want to get my son kicked out of school.

[This message edited by simplydevastated at 10:28 AM, October 21st (Monday)]

jo2love posted 10/21/2013 10:58 AM

I can't believe they banned Charlotte's Web. Last year at my DD's book fair I pulled one book from the display so it wouldn't be sold. It was about girls choking each other till they almost die. We (other parents) felt that it was up to each parent to decide if they wanted to let their child read that type of book. They could buy it at a bookstore, but not at the book fair. We didn't want to take a chance that a depressed student would buy the book, not tell their parent/guardian, and use the book as a guide to kill themself.

DeadMumWalking posted 10/21/2013 11:44 AM

O. M. G.


I am tongue-tied, there are no words.

Fingers crossed that it's just an attention-grabbing display rather than a bona fide book banning.

Jrazz posted 10/21/2013 11:51 AM

I think that if they were ACTUALLY banning the books they'd do so quietly... I feel like the police tape HAS to be sarcastic.

I'd definitely have a convo with the librarian, but I'm hoping that this is actually a display to raise awareness about how banning books is ridic.

simplydevastated posted 10/21/2013 12:35 PM

I can't believe they banned Charlotte's Web.

Exactly! To me, this book is about taking a stand for what's right (Fern standing up for Wilbur and saving his life), friends (Charlotte and the other farm friends) banning together to help another friend (Wilbur) find and value their self-worth. That's what I got out of that book anyway.

Fingers crossed that it's just an attention-grabbing display rather than a bona fide book banning.

This is what I'm hoping for, too.

I'm wondering if the police tape is the librarian's own personal stand against banning and what the school committee did (if they did ban the books.)

lynnm1947 posted 10/21/2013 12:37 PM

If Dark Beast's idea isn't the truth, and the books really are banned, then I have one word for you: MEDIA.

Go to a public library, make yourself a fake e-mail (gmail or some other) and anonymously tip the newspapers or TV that this is happening. Give as much information as you have.

[This message edited by lynnm1947 at 12:42 PM, October 21st (Monday)]

I think I can posted 10/21/2013 13:34 PM

FYI. It's banned books week. 30 yr anniversary. :)

Lionne posted 10/21/2013 13:39 PM

Please keep us posted... Sounds like an educational display for Banned Books week to me...

Jeaniegirl posted 10/21/2013 14:20 PM

Maybe it is to draw attention to Banned Books Week because every one of these books have been banned, at one time or another, somewhere. I would have my child try to check out one of the books, just to see. IF they are banned at your school, go to a school board meeting and speak up. I firmly believe the right to censor what children read is a right of ONLY the parents, not the school.

simplydevastated posted 10/21/2013 14:41 PM

I didn't know there was a "week." I hope that is all there is to it. My son just came home and I asked him again and he said it was the school who told her. I'm going to find out Wednesday while I'm at the school.

If it is an educations display my son will get a nice talk from me about listening closely

Jeaniegirl posted 10/21/2013 14:47 PM

Here is a list of books which have been banned at one time or another by governments all over the world:

And here is the list of books banned in the USA.

[This message edited by Jeaniegirl at 2:52 PM, October 21st (Monday)]

Lionne posted 10/21/2013 15:31 PM

Some of those books are challenged but not banned. As a school librarian, I had some strange books "challenged".

The Dumb Bunnies by Sue Denim (actually Dav Pilkey the writer of the much challenged Capt. Underpants series) because they used the word "dumb"
The Bad Fierce Bunny by Beatrice Potter, because of the "violence"
And finally, a silly little reproducible book designed to reinforce the sound of short I, called The Thin Pig. This was about a pig who did things to become thin, things that obviously had a short I sound. The parent challenged this book because it taught kids to have an unhealthy body image.

I think some people have too much time on their hands...

Clarrissa posted 10/21/2013 16:09 PM

If they really banned the books you mentioned, then they should ban the collected works of Shakespeare. They probably would if they knew what he was really talking about. Simply put, Shakespeare was a bawd.

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