October 01, 2012

Guilty Pleasures: Reading Banned Books

I love Banned Books week! I think I'm drawn to it due to my disobedient nature. As a kid, it gave me great pleasure to read taboo books in full view of grownups. It was like giving them a big "Na-na-na-na boo boo!" from the comfort of my chair.

In 7th grade, I found this book when my great aunt died, and my grandmother and mom had to clean out their home. I passed it around to my classmates. I don't know if it's ever been banned, but it sure was racy in my day. Note that I've never forgotten the title, and immediately recognized the cover.

I used to "invent" homework assignments and book reports so I could read (and avoid chores). My mom would never prevent me from doing school work...win/win for me.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of kids today don't know the joy that comes from books. I don't see my teenaged grandkids reading, unless they have to for school. They have no idea of the pleasures that can be found between the covers of a book.

I sent Desiree (15) a link in Facebook about what young people should be doing to be successful, and she said it was "too much to read". Kind of ironic, as one of the tips was to read good books.

I don't know where my love of reading came from - we didn't have tons of books at home, and it was like pulling teeth to convince my parents to drive me to the library. I saw my parents reading the daily paper and the occasional magazine - I never saw them read a novel. Maybe the bug bit me when my mom signed me up for the Weekly Reader Book Club, and I devoured all of the stories and poems that the mailman left in the box, just for me.

Maybe it was the SRA Reading Laboratory kit in the back of our classroom at school. When we were finished with our work, we could read the stories in the box and track our progress. I loved moving through the color-coded tabs, wanting to finish each and every story. I can't think of the word "aquamarine" (which sounded so exotic to me when I was a kid) without thinking of SRA.

As a mom, I took my kids to the library when they were toddlers, and I read every day to them. They were always encouraged to read. The Boy is my most active reader, though he prefers to read more non-fiction stuff (in the subjects that he shows the most interest).

So this week, I'm going to pretend I'm a kid again and read A Wrinkle in Time, which is on the Banned Book list (it's one of The Mister's favorites, and I've never read it)...and I've searched our bookshelves and encouraged The Boy to read one of our banned books.

Here's a link to the top 10 banned books for each year of the 21st century. How many have you read? And can you believe we're still banning books in the 21st century? How uninformed! Check out the activities your local library may have planned for the celebration of FREADOM!

What banned books is on your To Be Read list? Will you encourage your children/grandchildren to be naughty right along with you?


  1. Wow- I have read a lot of these. And I had no idea they were ever banned. I read A Wrinkle in Time in college for Children's Lit and I enjoyed it. Let's see....I have read, Twilight, Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Brave New World, Of Mice and Men, A Wrinkle in Time, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Bridge to Terabithia. I had no idea I was so naughty!

  2. Hey, I think I'll read A Wrinkle in Time too as I never have and had no idea that it was a banned book. I'll have to take a look at the banned list - makes you want to read them, huh?

  3. So much to say.

    1. Totally remember the SRA cards! I loved them. I can still see all the colors in the box. I worked my way diligently through them. I still fondly remember them.

    2. A Wrinkle In Time was one of my faves as a kid.

    3. Pure genius to invent homework assignments that involved reading books!! I wish I'd thought of that.

    4. Sad that reading isn't such a big thing for kids nowadays. I'm doing what I can in my house to combat that but there is so much competition for their attention.


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