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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Freedom, what type of word is it?

Look at this picture and what do you see?
An adorable cover illustration by Garth Williams (The Rabbits' Wedding, New York: Harper & Row, 1958).

There were people who looked at this very picture an saw something so terrible that they wanted to burn the book. Just because of the cover.
Can you guess?

One rabbit is black and the other is white and that scared the beejeeeebers out of some folks because for them they saw black and white and the word wedding and that meant BURN THIS BOOK lest an innocent child see it!


But then, when the word police (or image police) are on the lookout, well little bunny books, you'd best beware, you'd best take care.

The recent arrival of movie-making people and equipment has heralded the arrival of the crew filming "The Perks of Being a Wallflower" (by Pittsburgh native, Stephen Chbosky). Well that arrival, along with the Fourth of July got me thinking about this Freedom word. Freedom vs censorship. Because, as far as I'm concerned if we aren't free to read, then we are not free. And what did we declare ourselves free from?

It really irks me when I hear of a teacher leaving a book off a reading list because someone might find (MIGHT FIND) it offensive for their child, well, darn it, that offends me!

Here is a list of ten books that were frequently challenged from 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling
2. Alice (series), by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parness
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl, ttfn, 18r, g8r (series), by Myracle, Lauren
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

Why these books frighten anyone...well, sticks and stones.
Some of them have SEX! Some are SCARY! Some have drug use! Some dwell in other worlds.

There is one that is a very true story about two penguins and they adopt and egg and the egg hatches and the two penguins love the baby penguin. It just happens that the two penguins are male, so obviously their love for the baby isn't real, it's DANGEROUS! It will warp a child's mind!
Just like the image of the black rabbit falling in love with the white rabbit.

I want you to think about the Fourth of July and that word FREEDOM. I want you to ask yourself as a writer, just how much freedom do you really have?

1 comment:

  1. But a five year old is legally allowed to buy this... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pU5M-vlm0PA&feature=player_detailpage