29 Sep 2010


Now nearing the end of Banned Book Week I thought I'd add another dimension to the posts I have already written on the subject by bringing you this article from BBC Magazine (thanks to Husband dearest for providing the link) which, in part, looks at the differences between the system here in the UK and the USA.

In the US more and more parents are pressing schools to withdraw books with bad language or sexual content. But should children's books be restricted in this way?
There is a battle being fought in America over books.
The skirmishes see concerned parents "challenge" books which are being used in schools.
Other parents are fighting for the right of their children to go into their school library and pick up those very same books.

There's a disparity between the US and UK. While in the US, formal challenges to books in school libraries are routine, they are very unusual in the UK.
Part of the difference is in the level of local control over schools. Typically in the US, locally-elected school boards can have books withdrawn when parents petition them.
In the UK, control lies almost exclusively in the hands of headteachers, says Sally Duncan, of the School Library Association. She can recall one primary school that refused to have any Harry Potter books because of the supernatural content, but such moves are rare.
"Parents are perhaps less likely to complain about the content of books in the UK as, by and large, we are a less 'religious' society," says Ms Duncan.

Click HERE to see the whole article. Oh and do let us know what you think.


Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Interesting article, but I'm not sure religion is the reason.

sm said...

interesting article
like the template

Vivienne said...

I am just glad that in the UK the children have more freedom to read these books. I will not stop them reading anything, I may keep books back as they might not be age appropriate, but they will definitely be allowed to read them when I feel they can understand and deal with the content.

budh.aaah said...

Well as long as the books are age appropriate..thats a pre-requisite, with some kind of'value education involved' you know the-moral-of-the-story-is'..

Books play a very important part in the making of our mental makeup in childhood..and teach us however subtle a way the difference between good and bad, right and wrong. All the while gently flowering our imaginative skills.

Mary said...

I have to agree with Diane. Although religion gets the most notice when that is the reason, there are also other reasons for book banning (racism, etc).
Myself, I think that parents should be the last word - in their own homes. I wouldn't think of telling anyone else what their children should or should not read.

kavita said...

Thanks for the link to the article.After reading it ,its my personal opinion that as the tv and movies are already showing enough violence and sexual content, at least the school library should be spared of such books and if the parents think that a particular book is inappropriate for their child of a certain age-group ,they should have the right to decide the matter.

Kelly said...

I learned early on in raising kids that you can't shelter them from everything out there.

I don't know if I think religion is to blame as much as ignorance in some of this banning.

I think it's good for kids to be exposed to a lot of viewpoints (age appropriate of course...let's use some common sense) and reading is a great way to do this. It opens up opportunities for great conversations with your kids about what you believe and why. Then they can form their own opinions about things.

Vince said...

I cannot help but feel that this argument is at a level beyond anything that truly matters. The real issue is that good maths science Arts and languages are for the most part missing in most low to middle rank high schools.
At the moment I am undertaking an examination of the 1911 census of Ireland where education info was restricted to 'read and/or write, or not'. And I doubt for the most part we are much better those days.
All the same I'm all for Jilly Cooper delivered in toto to 14yo's. You may as well use what's there. While the Life of Brian is bloody gold on so many levels that it's not funny. And an ideal introduction to Theatre if you could get the script. Ditto the Holy Grail.

fyp. http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/datablog

GMR said...

Have to semi-agree with a few of the comments before me...not certain religion is the right place for blame in this one, though it certainly plays a factor for some. I don't think the books labels as "controversal" should be banned from people having the right to read them....but some do fall under the "age appropriate" category though, and that part is something to be hashed out by parents since not all kids fit into what's considered the normal age brackets. There are plenty that are wise beyond their years while others simply keeping pace.....just something to consider.

On another subject...the question you asked at my site. The snowglobe...I sorta just did a search on Google images for an animated snowglobe. ^_^ Not claiming credit for the pic, just borrowing it's beauty.

Suko said...

My comments are a mishmash today.

I have seen first hand religious parents not allowing their children to read Harry Potter, which struck me as odd and overly conservative, but to each his own. (Magic--it must be bad!) I really don't think U.S. school libraries push inappropriate books on children. But there are always parents who think otherwise, I suppose. Here in the U.S. we believe in personal liberties but we also believe in the right to choose, which may make some conservative parents more vocal about what their children may or may not read.

SG said...

Nice one. You are right about USA. Ultra conservative people object to what they cosider a "bad" book.

Also, there is a general feeling (in minority communities like blacks and hispanics) that the English language is biased toward white people. Therefore, they also protest some books and even the SAT test questions.

Dorte H said...

I think it is impossible, perhaps even a bad thing, to try to protect your children against several aspects of life that they will meet before or later anyway. If you shelter them too much, they may either rebel very strongly against their background later, or they may be too naive to recognize danger when they meet it.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Interesting article..hanks for sharing it.
The last lines said it all.
I think kids must experience several aspects of life so they can be able to recognize the dangers when they meet them in their life ahead.

Thanks for your comments on my blog. I really really apreciate them. :)
Loved your opinion/perspective. :D


B xx

Anonymous said...

I ahve yet to encounter a book that they want to ban here in the Us...At least not in the school my kids go to...or the school district...

Jenners said...

Very interesting. The whole book banning thing just drives me crazy .. I think some parents are trying to mold the world to their personal belief system ... and I suspect their children will grow up and do the same thing.

And whenever I hear about Harry Potter being banned, I just get so mad.

Alyce said...

That's interesting. I hadn't thought of what the differences might be in the UK.

brandileigh2003 said...

Just so you know you will get credit for me using your idea for mini-challenge, even though PrincessBookie decided to do it differently. I had submitted the idea and she said it would be on her site but credit would be linked to mine.
I will be having a contest for Minder or Adversary by Kaynak starting tomorrow, or you can use your points for the Fall Giveaway, just let me know as soon as you can.

Jennifer McLean said...

the US is a little on the nutty side at the moment. Banning children's books seems just silly. It got through the process of becoming a children's book, I'm sure it's fine. But then I've always been of the ilk that if you read something you have the control to make up what you want to "see" in your head yourself, as opposed to TV, where the image is formed for you. Reading = good... TV could use some tweaking on the violence end of it.


Oddyoddyo13 said...

I agree that there should be a line between kids and adult content, but most of the books in the fiction section of our library, I was reading in the second grade. They're very battered, and old, and crammed, and they don't go into many different genres.

I know that there should be limits-but there is such a thing as limits and nothing particularly interesting to read past a certain age.

chitra said...

Here we do not face problems and the control lies with Board of Schools . Religious sentiment and taken care of while selecting books.

brandileigh2003 said...

Just send me your email or a way to contact you if you win, and enter into the contest naturally, I will take care of the extra points.

Valerie said...

It's probably true that religious parents are more likely to complain about books that they find questionable, but I think there's another reason. Parents here in the US are reputed to be over-involved in their children's lives compared to other countries....or so I've heard from the various foreign parents I know.

That said, I'm pretty laid back about my kids' reading choices.