Library Views on Banned Books

We asked the library staff to talk about a banned book they read. Here is what they had to say:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are just that; Adventures. As a young boy, Huck finds that civ­i­lized life is no place for him. So he packs up and sneaks off to begin his adven­ture.
The jour­ney takes him head on into every­thing from kid­nap­pings to escapes; feuds and dis­guis­es; and even ship­wrecks and sur­pris­es.
Huck and his friend Jim, nev­er seem to get a break as they run from slave own­ers, abu­sive fathers, and fly­ing bul­lets.
But in the end, it all seems worth it, as things work them­selves out.

To Kill a Mockingbird, writ­ten by Harper Lee, is a sto­ry loosely-based on peo­ple and events from her own life which took place in 1936 when she was ten.  The book has been and con­tin­ues to be banned in some schools because of its racial slurs and sex­u­al con­tent that can have neg­a­tive effects on stu­dents.  To pro­tect the dig­ni­ty of our stu­dents and not require them to read books that mar­gin­al­ize them, the book will be removed from the required read­ing list for English cur­ricu­lum.” [Burbank, CA 2021].  The book though, would allowed to remain in the school’s library and still be option­al read­ing for students.

When I was a teen in the ear­ly 70s, like today, the book was avail­able but not required reading.

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman was one of my favorite books when I was younger because it had a female main char­ac­ter who was doing every­thing she could to res­cue her best friend. She got to vis­it dif­fer­ent worlds and meet dif­fer­ent peo­ple, all while being chased by an orga­ni­za­tion that did not like any ideas or thoughts that ran counter to their own. However, this book was seen as anti-religious which led to many reli­gious groups ask­ing for the book to be banned. Having read this tril­o­gy how­ev­er, I would not say that my reli­gious beliefs have been affect­ed, I was more excit­ed about the strong female char­ac­ter who was try­ing to stop an evil lady with a mon­key from cut­ting out peo­ples souls. Also, talk­ing bears that wear armor are always awesome!

The Scarlet Letter was an eye open­ing book about how dif­fer­ent­ly peo­ple were treat­ed for mak­ing deci­sions that soci­ety did­n’t approve of, com­pared to today. I did appre­ci­ate Hester’s strength and courage as she fought to pro­vide for her lit­tle girl and take care of both her­self and Pearl. It showed a tremen­dous amount of tenac­i­ty to choose to stay in Boston where every­one knew her and what she did. To final­ly have the truth revealed at the end of the book helped bring this sto­ry to a sat­is­fy­ing conclusion.

1984 is my favorite dystopi­an future book. What I real­ly like about it is that by the end of the book you don’t know how much of the sto­ry’s world and his­to­ry was real or made up. I like that the sto­ry made me do some heavy think­ing. With an anti-totalitarian theme cen­tral to the book, it becomes very con­cern­ing when a coun­try bans or cen­sors it.

I have cho­sen the Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck as my banned book. I read this book in high school for an English paper, but it real­ly opened my eyes to the lives of fam­i­lies dur­ing the Depression Era. The Joad fam­i­ly trav­els west to California in the hopes of start­ing anew after the Dust Bowl claimed their crops year after year. It tells of their haz­ardous jour­ney out west and the tri­als they had to over­come. It is a book that can make you appre­ci­ate the small things in life and that we should­n’t take our mod­ern con­ve­niences for granted.