Friday, October 02, 2020

Banned Books Week

I've done a lot of Banned Books posts over the years.  Since we have reached a decade marker, the ALA compiled the top 100 books that were banned or challenged over the last decade.  I have read less than I expected, but I read less picture books of late.  Some were assigned reading in school.  Some I adored.  Some I meh-ed.  Some I disliked and think are not great books, although having read many of these challenges I doubt the folks that challenged them were concerned about the same things I was.  
There are many books I have concerns about.  There are many books that are written by people who I don't think deserve the time and energy we have already spent on their thoughts.  There are many books that if I was reading with children or saw a child in my care read, I'd be like, okay we're gonna have a book club chat about that.  
And libraries weed collections, just as I occasionally take a deep look at the books on my shelves.  Some books wouldn't make me sad to see the reader numbers go down.  
But a lot of these books aren't on the list because they contain underdeveloped and or dated ideas about race and sex.  They are there because they make people uncomfortable.  Or they use words that have fallen out of favor and we somehow think people can't read a word and not use it in casual conversation.  Or they contain people being naked.  (Seriously, The Naked Cowboy is a picture book about a cowboy taking a bath.) 
And it isn't enough that folks want to not read or have their children read this book.  They want it away.  They think they know better than the collection librarians.  And librarians are - brace yourself - not perfect.  But they should be working on developing a collection for the whole community, not one segment of it. 

In other news, over on substack I talked about some baking recipes