Saturday, October 6, 2007

Banned Books Week

Today concludes Banned Books Week.

The American Library Association compiles lists of books most often targeted for complaints about content. Frequently, the reasons why someone decided to lodge a complaint are easyto spot: sensitive topics such as sex (even if sometimes only the possibility of is implied), euthenasia, substance abuse, killings, different forms of families, etc. Sometimes the reasons are more difficult to figure out. A number of books including youthful protagonists, for example, seem to be controversial because of a perception that showing young people thinking for themselves might foster disrespect for authority figures. The travelling cartoon wanderer of 'Where's Waldo?' makes the list (possibly due to a miniscule exposed breast in a fantastically overcrowded beach scene), as does a picture book by the author of the charming 'Little Bear' books (apparently because the preschool-aged hero dreams that he falls out of his pyjamas and becomes coated in cake batter, and is shown briefly unclothed in between).

This week, rather than evaluate a book for humorous content, Apprentice Writer analyzed a young adult book with a more serious theme; 'Julie of the Wolves' by Jean Craighead George. First published in 1972, this Newberry Award Winner follows a 13-year-old Native girl lost in the Alaskan tundra as she attempts to make contact with a wolf clan in order to survive. The review is posted at . The book touches on themes such as conservation, cultural change, childhood marriage, sexual assault, and alcoholism, and continues to stir strong feelings. Should Gentle Readers have come across this book, during their childhood or as adult readers, Apprentice Writer would be interested to know of your thoughts.

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