It's Banned Books Week on Books, Boys, Buzz... and as I perused the ALA lists of books most frequently cited for complaint over the years (you can find the lists here) I was shocked to find one of my childhood favorites - ok, not so shocked, just disappointed.
Bridge to Terebithia?
People actually brought forth complaints of "the occult and satanism" about this lovely, award-winning book by Katherine Patterson. I'm sure they didn't like the idea of Jess and Leslie creating their own world in the book, but what is more troubling is that they probably didn't like the questions that Jess asks when Leslie passes away.
Jess is a Christian in the book, and Leslie's family does not believe. When Leslie is killed in the flood, Jess knowing that Leslie is not a Christian, wonders what will happen to her. Will Leslie go to Heaven or Hell if she is not saved as he understands it?
What a great question! I think that when you believe in something, it is imperative to keep asking questions, to understand the tenets and feel comfortable discussing the hard topics. More than challenging your faith, questions refine your faith. Books like this bring up the hard questions, create discussions, and foster learning and growth.
And this book is just a great coming-of-age story -- a young boy choosing between hanging out with his friend Leslie or going to the museum with his art teacher, who he's crushing on.
I hope if you haven't read Bridge to Terebithia, you will check it out. It's one of the books that made me want to become a storyteller - and it's a book that deserves to be read by people everywhere.
What is the most surprising title you found on the Banned Books List? Seriously, I can't believe these people.... ;)
Happy BB Week!
Never Cry Werewolf - HarperTeen
The Clearing - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Wherever You Go - Harcourt Fall 2011