What frequently challenged or banned children's or young adult book should we read in February and March?
[Note: books chosen by random number generator]
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
12 votes 26.7%
And Tango Makes Three
11 votes 24.4%
11 votes 24.4%
Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days in L.A.
Luis J. Rodriguez
5 votes 11.1%
The Higher Power of Lucky
4 votes 8.9%
The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree
2 votes 4.4%
45 total votes
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Luis J. Rodríguez
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Paperback)
The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree (Paperback)
The Higher Power of Lucky (The Hard Pan Trilogy, #1)
Always Running (Paperback)
Luis J. Rodríguez
And Tango Makes Three (Hardcover)
The Outsiders (Mass Market Paperback)
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(showing 1-2 of 2)
Jan 27, 2010 06:19AM
Yay! I already finished The Adventures of Huck Finn! I loved it! ...why did they ban it?
(last edited Jan 28, 2010 06:12AM)
Jan 28, 2010 06:11AM
From Time Magazine
In 1885, the Concord Public Library in Massachusetts banned the year-old book for its "coarse language" — critics deemed Mark Twain's use of common vernacular (slang) as demeaning and damaging. A reviewer dubbed it "the veriest trash ... more suited to the slums than to intelligent, respectable people." Little Women author Louisa May Alcott lashed out publicly at Twain, saying, "If Mr. Clemens [Twain's original name:] cannot think of something better to tell our pure-minded lads and lasses he had best stop writing for them." (That the word nigger appears more than 200 times throughout the book did not initially cause much controversy.) In 1905, the Brooklyn Public Library in New York followed Concord's lead, banishing the book from the building's juvenile section with this explanation: "Huck not only itched but scratched, and that he said sweat when he should have said perspiration." Twain enthusiastically fired back, and once said of his detractors: "Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it." Luckily for him, the book's fans would eventually outnumber its critics. "It's the best book we've had," Ernest Hemingway proclaimed. "All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."
Despite Hemingway's assurances, Huckleberry Finn remains one of the most challenged books in the U.S. In an attempt to avoid controversy, CBS produced a made-for-TV adaptation of the book in 1955 that lacked a single mention of slavery and did not have an African-American portray the character of Jim. In 1998, parents in Tempe, Ariz., sued the local high school over the book's inclusion on a required reading list. The case went as far as a federal appeals court; the parents lost.
From Wikipedia (not a reputable source but interesting)
Many Twain scholars have argued that the book, by humanizing Jim and exposing the fallacies of the racist assumptions of slavery, is an attack on racism.[20:] Others have argued that the book falls short on this score, especially in its depiction of Jim.[16:] According to Professor Stephen Railton of the University of Virginia, Twain was unable to fully rise above the stereotypes of black people that white readers of his era expected and enjoyed, and therefore resorted to minstrel show-style comedy to provide humor at Jim's expense, and ended up confirming rather than challenging late-19th century racist stereotypes.[21:]
Because of this controversy over whether Huckleberry Finn is racist or anti-racist, and because the word "nigger" is frequently used in the novel, many have questioned the appropriateness of teaching the book in the U.S. public school system. According to the American Library Association, Huckleberry Finn was the fifth most frequently challenged book in the United States during the 1990s.
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