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.