Monday, September 28, 2009

Banned Books Week 2009...Childhood Favorites

Today I'm featuring some of my favorite authors from when I was a child whose books have been challenged/banned in the past.  Luckily, I have parents who believe in intellectual freedom so I was never prevented from reading these wonderful authors.  Unfortunately, in some places, children are prevented from reading them.

Judy Blume reflects upon why she never stops writing, despite the challenges and pressures to top herself. “I have so many more stories to tell,” she explains.  (Watch video)

Judy has this to say about censorship:

Censors don't want children exposed to ideas different from their own. If every individual with an agenda had his/her way, the shelves in the school library would be close to empty. I wish the censors could read the letters kids write.

Dear Judy,
I don't know where I stand in the world. I don't know who I am.
That's why I read, to find myself.
Elizabeth, age 13

But it's not just the books under fire now that worry me. It is the books that will never be written. The books that will never be read. And all due to the fear of censorship. As always, young readers will be the real losers.  (Source:

Here are two of my most favorite books by Judy Blume:

Madeleine L'Engle (November 29, 1918-September 6, 2007) won the Newbery Medal for children's literature in 1963 for her novel A Wrinkle in Time, a story of trans-dimensional derring-do. She wrote several other novels for children, many of which involved the same cast of characters in science-based, philosophical adventures. (Source:

“Wrinkle” has been one of the most banned books in the United States, accused by religious conservatives of offering an inaccurate portrayal of God and nurturing in the young an unholy belief in myth and fantasy.

Ms. L’Engle, who often wrote about her Christian faith, was taken aback by the attacks. “It seems people are willing to damn the book without reading it,” Ms. L’Engle said in an interview with The New York Times in 2001. “Nonsense about witchcraft and fantasy. First I felt horror, then anger, and finally I said, ‘Ah, the hell with it.’ It’s great publicity, really.” (source)

We miss you Ms. L'Engle...may you rest in peace.

One of my favorite fantasy books of all time:

The Diary of Anne Frank was a book I was very passionate about when I was a girl.  I admired her courage and her passion for books and writing.  When I heard that her book has been challenged in the past, I was shocked.  What about this book could be questionable?  Perhaps most shocking is the reason the book has been challenged/banned...too depressing! Are they kidding me?

Annelies Marie Frank (1929-1945) is the best-known victim of the Jewish genocide known as the Holocaust, which was ordered by Germany's Adolf Hitler during World War II. When German troops occupied the Netherlands, Frank and her family spent two years hiding from the Nazis in a small set of rooms in Amsterdam, protected by non-Jewish friends. The Franks were finally discovered in August of 1944 and sent to concentration camps; Anne died the next year in a typhus epidemic at the camp at Bergen-Belsen. Her diary was published in 1947 in the Netherlands under the title Het Achterhuis (in English The Annex). The diary was translated into more than 50 languages and sold millions of copies. Now more commonly known as The Diary of Anne Frank, it has remained in print into the 21st century. (source)

I hope you will take a moment to recognize these wonderful authors and their spectacular works of art.  Please encourage your children to read them (at the appropriate age) and read them yourself, if you haven't yet. 

Happy (Banned) Reading!


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  1. Oh how I loved Judy Blume growing up :) Some people must have rocks in their heads to think that her books should be banned!!!

    I loved The Diary of Anne Frank too. I think most of the banned books I loved at some time in my life, and I'm definitely proud of that fact.

  2. Sadly people are stupid. I did love Judy Blume. Luckily no one cared what I read so I was able to read to my heart's content.

  3. I never knew there was a "problem" with Judy Blume books when I was a kid. I read them all, along w/ Diary of Anne Frank. I read a lot of banned books I never knew were banned until I was older

  4. I guess we were lucky to have parents that didn't think it was bad to know about the facts of life or that life can be depressing sometimes! Can you imagine being kept from reading what you wanted...oh, the horror!

  5. Judy Blume didn't appeal to me as a kid and still doesn't but I don't believe her books (or any books) should be banned.

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