Hi and welcome to the first edition of Books That Saved My Life, launching today in honor of the start of the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week. (A bit belatedly, let’s hope the book burners also sleep late.) Banned Books Week was started back in 1982 as a response to a sudden spike in challenges to books in schools, bookstores, and libraries.
Lately I’ve been ranting and raving about Sarah Palin’s attempt to ban books in Wasilla, AK. There’s been some debate as to whether what Palin did constitutes “banning” books. Let’s be clear her actions consisted simply of asking the local librarian whether she could take a few books off the shelves. Is this “banning” a book? According to the ALA, challenges along the lines of Palin’s “rhetorical” inquiry are considered the first step toward getting a book banned completely.
The most challenged books of 2007*
1. And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
2. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
3. Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
4. The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
7. TTYL by Lauren Myracle
8. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
9. It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
(Click here to see why these books were challenged.)
In honor of Phillip Pullman, number four on today’s countdown, we give you Boycotting Another World: Christian Conservatives at the Movies by Brook Wilensky-Lanford.
And for Judy Blume, number 13 with a bullet for most banned author of the decade we’re bringing you The Education of a Man: Fan Letters to Judy Bloom by CJ Evans, originally published in the Lost and Found section of Tin House Magazine.
For my favorite (ex-stripper) librarian: My Morning Jacket singing Librarian