China has a Problem with Winnie the Pooh


In recent decades many people have praised the Chinese government for a number of different actions it has and hasn’t taken. But if we’re going to praise them for some of the good they’re doing, it’s only fair to criticize when criticism is necessary.

The internet in China is heavily censored. We all know this. Several tech companies are actively trying to change this. Besides the internet, though, books are also heavily censored. Recently it was announced that book series such as Winnie the Pooh are negatively affecting Chinese culture and ideology, and thus the books will be banned from the country.

Two things here. First, HAHAHA. Literally. This is so ridiculous that it’s funny. It’s hard to imagine living in China. Heavy pollution. Censorship in every aspect of life. Sure there are countries in which life is noticeably worse, but most of those don’t have the respect China has on the world stage.

Second, this policy is unenforceable from day 1. It’s just not feasible to enforce. They can’t round up all the newly banned books already in the country. And people will always find a way to obtain the things they want.

Do you think the Winnie the Pooh books are worthy of being banned? ūüėā


What’s a Good Reason to Have Books Removed From School Reading List?

It doesn’t matter which state you live in or even which country, there are books that are taught in school that parents speak out against. I can name more than a handful of books that are constantly challenged.

I have no kids. My parents never had an issue with any book I was assigned in school. I don’t think I can come up with any reason I’d have a problem with any book assigned in school. If books deal with sex, mental illness, death, history, or any other “difficult” topic; then I can’t think of a better environment than a classroom to learn about those things. I see no reason why a parent wouldn’t be actively involved in those discussions if they’re being discussed in school.

What do you think is a good reason to speak out against an assigned reading book?

Banning Books Will Never Work

A parent in Virginia has concerns about schools assigning The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and To Kill a Mockingbird. As a result, both books are now temporarily banned from use in the classroom until some kind of hearing can take place. The rationale behind her concerns is that the N-word is used quite a bit in both, which leaves students focusing on its repeated use rather than on the book. I couldn’t disagree more.

I, like just about all of you, have read both books. And though I absolutely have a problem with the language and offer no justification during any time period for its use, I can’t help but scratch my head. Why? I actually found a quote from the parent in which she backs her argument about how divided the country is. To me, it sounds like her concerns about the language are just a front for her political motivation.

I’m curious as to whether she thinks books written in the 19th and 20th centuries and taught to teens in school actually contribute to that division she speaks of. I’m curious as to whether she believes highly educated teachers are incapable of teaching books such as these two because of the language within each of them. I’m curious as to whether she would rather kids be taught books written in the 21st century with absolutely no historical element. And I’m curious as to whether she utilized her ability to opt out of the assignment of particular books in school. Because I know schools and teachers always make it 100% clear BEFORE an assigned book is started that parents can choose to have their son or daughter read something else if they have a problem with a title.

But doing this and causing these two books to be banned from classroom use does nothing positive for anyone. I’m sitting here thinking about what my reaction to some of the events in To Kill a Mockingbird would have been had I read the book in class.

A question I’d have wanted to discuss is what I thought would have happened at the jail had Scout and Jem not showed up alongside Atticus. Because we all know what that mob group intended to do. And we all know why they intended to do it. That discussion taking place amongst friends and a highly educated teacher who has likely read and studied the book several times is where I want it to take place. Because parents don’t always know what to say about certain things.

As you can see, I have strong feelings about any book being banned for any reason. But this parent’s argument simply doesn’t hold up under the weight of its own words.

DC Public Libraries to Celebrate Banned Books

I’m not sure exactly when Banned Books Week takes place, but I know it’s in September.

Bookstores, libraries, and other organizations celebrate banned books each year to highlight books that were once (or currently are) challenged. And DC public libraries are doing something fun this year. Throughout the course of the month the public library system in the capitol is hiding hundreds of copies of banned books all around the city. Clues to help find the books will be given on the system’s social media accounts and the books will feature covers describing why the book was challenged. 

Also, the books are free to keep!

I don’t know what any libraries or bookstores near me are doing, but if I lived in DC I’d definitely be trying to find me some banned books. Never mind that I likely don’t know the city well enough to find anything.

Have you heard of any unique events to celebrate Banned Books Week in your area?

The Most Anticipated Week of the Year has Arrived

Which is that? Banned Books Week! Duhh.

First off, I never wrote my post back in April when 2014’s most banned books were initially announced. So here’s the list:

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.

Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi.

And Tango Makes Three by Jason Richardson and Peter Parnell.

The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.

It’s Perfectly Normal¬†by Robie H. Harris and Michael Emberley.

Saga (comic book series).

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.

A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier.

These were the most challenged books last year. And I’m sure you recognize most or all of them. The best part about Banned Books Week is that events are going on all over the country in support of these books and others that have been challenged.

I haven’t been reading lately, so I won’t say I’m going to read one of these this week. But I think it’d be great to show your support for these books and authors in some way this week. Read a book. Tweet something. Write a blog post. Something.

What are you doing for Banned Books Week?

Read a Banned Book This Week


Photo Credit: EventKeeper

I think Banned Books Week actually began yesterday, but I was too busy writing about candlelight to remember that I wanted to write a post about it. Whoops.

So, it’s officially Banned Books Week 2014. Don’t you think this week should be a bit more celebrated than it is? I mean, I would be willing to put a whole lot of money on the fact that no one in my family even knows about it. I wish someone would give me that opportunity so I could become an instant millionaire. But no, no one has asked me to bet any money. It’s an unfortunate occurrence. But now you get to hear about it from me.

Each year the American Library Association releases its annual list of most challenged books. These challenges are not astronomical numbers, but they do happen and come from religious groups, parents, and sometimes even teachers. Don’t be misled by the name of the annual list or by the name of the week itself. These books aren’t banned, just challenged. Well I guess technically some books are actually banned in other parts of the world where banned books is a real thing, but that has nothing to do with what I’m writing here.

So the ALA releases its list relatively early in the year and then celebrates Banned Books Week a little later on. Now I know what you’re wondering. How can you celebrate? Simple, read a book from the list. Or two. Or the top ten. Here’s a refresher of the current list of the most banned books.

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian bu Sherman Alexie

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

6.  A Bad Boy can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

9. Bless me, Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

So there you have the top ten. And if you’re in a celebratory mood and feel like reading one of the books listed, then I’d suggest tackling #5. But that’s just me.

How are you celebrating Banned Books Week?

Also, if you’re interested in my thoughts about each book on the list, check out this post from earlier this year in which I discuss each book.

And the Most Banned Book of 2013 is…

ImagePhoto Credit: AbeBooks

Actually, I’m not sure if this list is 2013 or 2014, but let’s just say 2013. Eh. Before we delve into the list let me first say that I see no point in banning books at all. Actually, I do have one exception. I apologize beforehand if you happen to be a fan of this author or her writing, but there’s an author on WordPress who writes a series of stories that follow a stepbrother and stepsister who are involved with each other. Sexually. Yeah, ban that. Ban it here. On Amazon. Everywhere. And the titles of the books are so horrible. Ugh. I’m leaving it alone. Other than that, I’d say most everything else is fair game.

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

I honestly have never heard of this series of books. But the reasons listed for its placement on this list were political viewpoint, racism, and violence. I won’t comment because I simply am unaware. I will say that the cover shown in the article I’m referencing looks to be aimed at children. I think it would be understandable for a book aimed toward a younger audience to be included on this list if it has racism and violence.

9. Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Another book I’m unfamiliar with. The reasons given were Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, and sexually explicit. Hmm. Okay.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie. I thought it was great. But I also find its placement on this understandable. I mean, this is geared toward teens, right? Well the nature and things discussed in the book are definitely serious in nature. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Can’t say I disagree with any of those. Though this is a book I want to read at some point since I’ve seen the movie.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Hasn’t John Green become something of a superstar recently? I’ve never read his books but I hear his name all the time and see blog posts about him just as often. I assume this is a YA book? The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. And here I thought YA was all about vampires and paranormal romances. Guess not. But then again I have no earthly idea what this about.

6. A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

I’m starting to see a patten here. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, explicit language, sexually explicit. Never read this. Never will. Moving on.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

WHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT?! Last I checked Katniss isn’t running around having sex with everyone or drinking or smoking or anything besides trying to stay alive! This is stupid. Do I agree with this making the list? No. Do I understand it making the list? No. Do I want to find someone who helped come up with the list and punch them in the face? Yes. The reasons given were religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group. Shut up. Before I get angry.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

I can honestly say that there was not single tidbit of surprise in me when I saw this book made the list. I mean, it doesn’t get any more self-explanatory than this, right? I’m not going to list the reasons given because you all know them already. If you don’t, good. Stay away from the internet!

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Never read, Reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. I’m assuming that this is another YA book or geared toward even younger audiences because that seems to always be the case when you see “unsuited to age group.”

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I thought Toni Morrison was one of those authors who everyone loves today? I’ve never read her books, but I swear I’ve read plenty about her. Hm. Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence. What’s with all the sex and drugs in these books? I guess someone’s got to write about it all, right?

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

Ha. Seriously, this just tells me what a joke this list is. I mean, most of the books are so understandable that explanations aren’t necessary when you see the content you’re dealing with. But this? Really? I remember EVERYONE reading these books when I was in elementary school. I never read one, but everyone else did. Because they were pretty funny, I assume. Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence. I’m done. This is no longer relevant. To find this book on the same list as some of the other titles. And I’m seeing here that it’s not the first time it’s made it. Oh well.

So there you have the most banned books of 2013. What do you think? If you’re anything like me, about a third of the list is a laughing stock.

You can read an article about the list on The Huffington Post here.