Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Browsing through Banned-Book Week

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Browsing through Banned-Book Week

Article excerpt

MONDAY: Begin Banned Books Week by reading "Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson, which parents in several school districts have tried to remove from required reading lists. Weep copiously at realistic tale of friendship and loss among children.

Read account of attempts to have the book removed from school libraries in Mechanicsburg, Pa. Clergyman says the book refers to church services as "boring." Shocked and amazed.

Discover that "Terabithia" caused such a stink in Oskaloosa, Kan., that the school board has required teachers to list each profanity in any book they assign and how many times the profanity is used. Page through book. Find a "damn" and write it down. Feel like a fool. "I hate to say it, but sometimes grown-ups are really stupid," says oldest child.

TUESDAY: Read reams of material about the banning of "In the Night Kitchen," fanciful account of dreams of little boy by Maurice Sendak. Boy falls out of clothes, is naked, has penis. Penis has been described as "desensitizing children to nudity" (Beloit, Wis.), "nudity for no purpose" (Norridge, Ill.) and "the foundation for future use of pornography" (Elk River, Minn.). In Missouri, copies of book were distributed to kindergarten class after artist was commissioned to draw shorts on boy.

Discover that the profanity in "Terabithia" includes the repeated use of the word "Lord." Begin to agree with oldest child.

WEDNESDAY: Contemplate bookshelves in office. "Moby Dick" encourages whale hunting, "Anna Karenina" adultery, Shakespeare teen suicide, usury and the occult. Faulkner, oy. Consider what would remain if all books containing sex, profanity, racial slurs, violence were removed from shelves. Narrow it down to "Cat in the Hat," dictionary and Bible.

Realize cat with hat encourages children to make a mess while mother is out. Discover in American Library Association Banned Books Week literature that the Bible was challenged as "obscene and pornographic" at library in Fairbanks, Alaska. Fear for future of human race.

THURSDAY: Read quote from Judy K. Souleret, mom supporting "Terabithia" in Mechanicsburg - "If only books that no one found objectionable were left on library shelves, I fear they would soon be bare. …

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