Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Why challenge books?

According to the ALA's website, the three most common reasons for a challenge to a book are, sexually explicit,” contain "“offensive language,” and be(ing) “unsuited to age group.”"

There's something that has always amazed me when talking about movies that relates to the first most common reason. Some people will freak out if there's nudity or a hint of sex in a movie, but let the movie blow up cars and shoot each other all day long without comment. Notice violence isn't in the top three reasons that books are challenged.

As far as language, well, we all have words we find offensive. And few will have the same list.

I'm really puzzled at the last reason. I know that school libraries are included in the data. But there is a big difference between a 5th grader and a kindergartner and what they can read. Are they saying that only kindergarten books can be included in a school library? Because after all, a book that a 5th grader could read would be highly unsuited for a kindergartner to read.

There are also differences among children of the same age. I'm a little more careful with what my youngest reads because she's more sensitive and has nightmares, whereas things don't seem to bother the oldest in the same ways at the same age.

And if that's for public libraries...say what? Public libraries have ADULTS checking out books, not just kids. Why censor the public library and what books they have because of age unsuitability when the public library services people of ALL ages?


PS I blogged at BWB today with Agent Search Tip #2.

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