October 1, 2015

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Mid-Week Pattering-- Some Banned Book Week Links



** CBLDF suggests 28 comics to read during Banned Book Week.  It runs the gamut from superheroes to manga to YA and kids comics. Looking over that list, it's a pretty good list of comics to give to someone who may be trying to find something to read that they may like.  If I was making a list of some of my favorite books, there's a number of them that are on CBLDF's list.  It's hard to think that these are banned or challenged books because of their content.

** The Banned Book Week website released the list of the top 10 books challenged or banned in 2014 and three comics make the list: Persepolis, Saga, and Drama.



** The Washington Post has an interview with Jacqueline Woodson, an author and poet who has had books challenged and banned.
For Woodson, those conversations involve asking, “Are you really protecting your child, or are you keeping your child from the tools they’ll need to deal with these issues?”

If she hears a parent say, “I’m afraid that my daughter will see something sexually explicit and will want to do that,” Woodson responds, “Okay, but let’s talk about what it means to be a teenager. Let’s talk about what it means to have hormones.”

Hopefully, we'll have something about Drama up a bit later this week but that book is all about the experience of being a young teen.  A lot of the YA fiction that's out now is about showing kids that what they're going through is not just them and that they're not alone in it.  Telgemeier's book is so much about that type of experience of just discovering what it means to like someone who may or may not like you back.

** The Slate has a measured take on Banned Book Week that reflects Woodson's desire for conversation.
Much of the rhetoric around Banned Books Week elides not just the difference between the past and the present but some other important distinctions: the difference between “bans” from public libraries and from school libraries, and between inclusion in school curricula and general availability in a library. A parent merely questioning the presence of a book on a required reading list is the same, to the organizations that run Banned Books Week, as the book being removed from circulation at the local public library. But the former, I would argue, is part of a reasonable local conversation about public education (even if the particular parental preferences are unreasonable). The latter comes closer to a “book ban.”
And it concludes with:
This Banned Books Week, instead of hand-wringing about a nonexistent wave of censorship, let’s celebrate the obvious: The books won.
So if that's the case, then let's continue to celebrate!  Personally, I love the idea of opening up a discussion about the books and these comics to discuss their merits.  From Palomar to Drama to In the Night Kitchen, there are reasons to discuss these books and debate their merits.  There's always room for disagreements but when we start taking away choices, that's where the problems begin.

** As a funny side note, a couple of weeks ago on his Tumblr, a 15-year-old kid asked Matt Fraction how they should ask their parents to let them read a book called Sex Criminals?  Fractions answer reminds me of the rebellious nature that reading comics can also be.
I also think maybe it’s not worth getting grounded over a comic.

I also also think if my parents knew everything I was consuming as a 15 year old they’d have locked me in a car trunk.
Personally, I still don't want my parents to find out what I'm reading.  I want to keep all of my Howard Chaykin comics that I know my Mom would make me throw away.