Now That Banned Books Week Is Over,America Can Get Back to Banning Books

By Neal Comment

There’s so many irate parents trying to ban so many different books from our nation’s schools and public libraries, I’m almost not sure where to begin. Let’s try doing it alphabetically by state, shall we?

· A mom in Georgia believes Harry Potter is the devil’s recruiting brochure and wants the books banned from Gwinnett County schools. This is the same school district where residents tried to eliminate Spanish-language books from the public library earlier this year because they didn’t want to risk providing illegal immigrants with the delights of literature.

· Several Maine schools are rejecting a nursery rhyme collection distributed by the state’s literacy program because its verses offend adult sensibilities. Lines like “teacher, teacher don’t be dumb, give me back my bubble gum” are, according to one principal, “all about being disrespectful” and “totally against what we try to teach in our schools.” (I guess they won’t be needing the follow-up collection of Marine Corps cadences any time soon, either.)

· In Marshall, Missouri, the public library held a hearing last night to determine whether or not they should keep Fun Home, a “graphic novel” memoir by Alison Bechdel about her emerging sexual identity and her closeted father, on the shelves. The same people who want to ban that book are also up in arms about another graphic novel, Blankets by Craig Thompson.

· Finally, in Texas, a teenage girl ratted out Ray Bradbury for the “very bad language” in Fahrenheit 451, and now her dad wants to prevent schoolkids from reading the classic parable of how censorship can degrade society—ironically, he made the request last week, during the actual Banned Books Week. On the plus side, though, that girl is reading Ella Minnow Pea, a Mark Dunn novel which also takes a fantastical approach to censorship, for class credit instead of the Bradbury. We like to see schools offering students fiction that’s younger than they are, what can we say?