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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sex in Media: Books, Magazines, Films, TV & More » A frequently banned book

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Author Topic: A frequently banned book
Member # 6109

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I was just looking through this page, having found the link in a magazine, and was sad to see book #48, Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden.

It's a young-adult (probably 13+) love story, and a very beautiful one. The characters are well-written and sympathetically portrayed. I read it once, about nine or ten years ago IIRC, and it's stuck with me this long. It has only one (non-gratuitous, non-explicit) sex scene. But it deals with a lesbian couple, which is apparently something that impressionable teenagers shouldn't be exposed to.

Seeing any book challenged or banned saddens me. Seeing a book that would contribute to tolerance of homosexuality on a list of the top 100 banned books is beyond saddening, especially such a beautiful, sensitive one.

I'm sorry if this is long


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That list makes seriously disturbing reading.

I've never read the book you're particularly talking about, but it worries me to see how many books dealing with sex education there are on the list. Thankfully, these books haven't actualy been banned, but an awful lot of people clearly have a problem with them. That's a worrying sign for the sexual health, understanding and tolerance of the future generation.

Also..To Kill a Mockingbird? (probably my favourite book ever, I just can't comprehend how someone could have a problem with it) Huckleberry Fin? Harry Potter? Lord of the Flies? I just can't understand this.

I love books, and it makes me so sad that people want them censored in a way that seems more fitting to Victorian Britain than the 21st century. It's just so wrong.

You wanna save humanity, it's just the people you can't stand-John Lennon

Witness the infinite justice of the new century. Civilians starving to death whilst waiting to be killed.

Manky Confuddledness-My new, improved Blog.

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I've read about a quarter of those books, and honestly, in most cases, I just don't understand what there is to ban. Yes, I can see how the Anarchist Cookbook might not be appropriate for kids, but a lot of those books were intended for adults anyway. With some of those books, I can see information on sex or the supernatural being the given reason, but why ban Where's Waldo or the Anastacia books? I really loved the latter!
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Lady Moonlight
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Ah, book banning. One of my favorite topics and (as a real-life school librarian), one that cuts pretty close to my heart.

Books are banned (or attempted to be banned) for many different reasons. In the case of books with sexual or supernatural themes, or that portray homosexuality in a positive light, the would-be censors don't agree with the values portrayed, and they don't think ANYONE should be exposed to those values. One of my favorite examples is a picture book called Heather Has Two Mommies. A child entering preschool for the first time is dismayed and upset to realize that she doesn't have a daddy like some of the other children; she has two mommies instead (the implication is that her parents are a lesbian couple, although the book never comes out and says that). With her teachers' help, she and her classmates realize that they have many different kinds of families--some live with grandparents, some in single-parent homes, some are adopted, etc.--and all those family types are valid. Because of the implication that a family headed by a same-sex couple is okay, the book banners love to go after this one. Too bad, because it's a great book with a really heartwarming message. (I notice there's an "alternative" out there now. Recently published, it contains basically the same message about different family types...but no same-sex couples. So far I've refused to buy it.)

Other books are censored because of bad language or simply because they're "depressing" (I think this was the reasoning behind at least one attempt to ban To Kill a Mockingbird.) It's as though folks believe that if children are never exposed to objectionable elements in books they will never think of them on their own. Like if they never read about it they will never curse, or get depressed, or have premarital sex.

I don't believe that. I believe we stretch our horizons by reading about people whose lives are different from ours. I was never in a homosexual relationship as a teenager, but reading Annie on My Mind helped me to imagine the challenges if I was, and made me more understanding towards anyone whom society considers "not normal" (whatever the heck "normal" is!). The same goes for all the other books I read. Censors insult everyone by implying that we can't tell the difference between our own realities and the books we read, that we're not intelligent enough to absorb information and make our own choices.

Personally, I believe that if your belief system is so weak that it can't stand up in the face of a BOOK, for heaven's sake, it's a pretty lame set of beliefs.

<climbs back down off the soapbox>

And because I know I've ranted long enough, I won't even start into all the books that librarians don't even buy because they're afraid they might be challenged sometime in the future.

Sorry about going into lecture mode, folks. Like I said, it's a topic which I feel really strongly about and love discussing.

Read a banned book today!

[This message has been edited by Lady Moonlight (edited 12-12-2001).]

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Member # 5957

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I'm originally from Egypt (though I managed to get my butt out of there for good), and over there basically anything and everything is censored and/or banned. The interesting thing, in the case of books, is that they get banned only when they somehow acquire a high profile. I am sure there's a lot of self-censorship, or editors refusing books, or people going to Cyprus or wherever to get their books published, but mainly books get banned when somebody influencial reads them and gets publicly pissed.

Sad to say, a lot of times those rants came from my alma mater, which is supposed to be a liberal arts American institution... yeah, right. Typically some class would be assigned some potentially controversial reading material (loved that book where some woman has lesbian sex with a demon that's in the guise of a serpent... and graphic sex at that ), has lots of fun reading the book (how often would you hear about lesbian sex in Egypt, let alone with a serpent?), but then for some reason the teacher gets on his nerves, or doesn't give him an A. Pronto, the student, or the student's influential father writes a letter to several of the most widely read newspapers in Egypt, pronto, our university gets accused of harboring midnight orgies all over again, and pronto, the book gets banned. Sad. In my last year there, 2 books got banned this way, including one that had been on national bookshelves for 30 years, and another one (_Season of Migration to the North_, a masterpiece, highly recommended) came back under discussion. This book is regularly banned and unbanned, it's pretty funny in the ha-ha sad way.

The amazing thing is that the public discourse is basically this: we are very religious people and hold our convictions very dearly, _therefore_ any book that offends or questions or challenges or even _touches upon_ those convictions must not be shown to us. As you say, Lady Moonlight, that speaks volumes about those convictions (and no, they are not restricted to a single religion).

OK, just thought I'd get that rant off my chest before studying for my Friday final

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Lady Moonlight
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Thanks, Kite. It's cool to have an international perspective. At least over here we have the ACLU and the American Library Association to fight back. Often they even win, which is why a lot of those books are merely "challenged" instead of actually "banned."

What you said about popularity reminds me of the folks who want to ban Harry Potter books. They had no problems with them until everybody started reading them, but then they went ballistic and started trying to pull them off the shelves because they "promote witchcraft". (malarkey. anybody who says that has obviously missed the point of the books and probably not read them at all.) They seem to miss the point that these kids are actually reading something that's not based on a t.v. cartoon character, hallelujah!

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Actually, I think the original reason the Harry Potter books got much attention at all was because some rather extreme British groups got upset by them. people starting looking in to the books because of that, decided they liked them, and I guess things have just come full circle.
Posts: 5122 | From: I *came* from the land of ice and snow | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Scarleteen Volunteer
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Ack! That list angered me a great deal.. Summer of My German Soldier, Forever, the Giver, Julie of the Wolves..? Those are all really great books, ones which I would reccomend to everyone, including young adults and teenagers. I have never completely understood certain acts of censorship- you can't just shelter kids from everything, it isn't healthy. Besides, the idea that they want people to believe that homosexuality, and sexuality in general, is bad really burns me up. I even noticed that a few of the books were ones about growing up, bodily changes, sexuality, and how to talk to kids about those topics.. it's sad that anyone would want those to be censored.

~*Scarleteen Advocate

"I hate broccoli. And yet, in a certain sense- I AM broccoli." --The Tick

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Member # 10181

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I have heard people praise Annie on my Mind, by Nancy Garden so much that I asked for it for Christmas (I'm 15, and my parents are fine with my orientation) However, both they and I have been totally unable to find thsat, or any other Nancy Garden book anywhere!
I am really upset that these books are being censored from major bookstores when they are recomended so highly.
Does anyone know where I can buy the book?

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Scarleteen Volunteer
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You could ask your local bookstore to order a copy for you, or try an online bookstore - for example, "Annie on My Mind" is available from
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Not all books you can't find are being held back, you know, many are just out of print. Used bookstores and libraries might be more help to you than standard shops.


Where are my goddamned pants?

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Member # 11096

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Why those little **************!I can't believe they banned the ALICE series!They have no idea what they are talking about!Don't worry - they're just dumb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Ok, I have ordered Annie on my mind from Amazon, and I will keep an eye out for more of the same. Thanks you guys!
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Wow, that is deffintelly a list full of variety! I've read at least half of the books on that list and loved every one of them. Also I've had teachers assign a bunch of them such as The Giver, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Flies, Flowers for Algernon, The Outsiders, The Catcher in the Rye, and Of Mice and Men. I mean those are classics!

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I counted. I've personally read at LEAST 30 books on that list (that I remember) and have had many more reccomended to me.
Some of them were assigned by teachers.

I LOVED quite a few of them, namely "are you there god, its me margaret" and "the giver".
Also, bridge to terabithia is Amazing.

In fact, one of the books on that list, *the colour purple*, I read in SEVENTH grade. I was 11 or 12, and I was thouroughly freaked out by it, but then realized I was very lucky to be Me, even though at that age, I probably didnt catch on to HALF of what was in that book.
Censorship sucks.

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Member # 11139

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Oh my, a lot of those books were assigned for reading in high school. Well not my most recent high school ( I live in the good ol' south.) But when I went to my first couple of high schools I read many of those books, and I thank them for having assigned them, or otherwise I might not have read them.
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I also have read and loved a large portion of these books.
Here's a silly story. In my hometown our MLA (for non-Canadian folk: member of the legistative assembly, the guy who represented us at a provincial level), Victor Doerkson tried to get Of Mice and Men banned from provincial curriculum. It was this big to-do, lots of debate, media coverage etc. Then finally some one asked if he had actually read it and the answer was no! Can you believe that!? I don't know whether to laugh or cry.
*sigh* Someday smart people will take over the world...I dang well hope it's soon.

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i am a cat
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I have a button on my bag that says "Everything I need to know about life, I've learned from reading banned books." People laugh when they see it, and it is humorous, but it truly is astonishing and frightening how many books have been banned in various places and/or challenged.

I've read about half of the books on that ALA list, many of them when I was very young. Some of them were my favorites.

How utterly depraved I must be!

"Why should I have to be a skinny pencil?
I'd rather be a happy magic marker."

- Natalie on "Facts of Life"

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Earth's children Series by Jean Auel are my fav. books. I read them all so far and can't wait for the next one. Sure they have pretty vivid sex scenes but they are intended for adult readers. And The Witches by Roald Dahl is another great book. I read it when I was maybe 10 at the oldest and I found nothing wrong with it. Also, Blubber is about a child who is teased because of a weight problem, but overcomes it. Crazy Lady is another good book. This really annoys me that so many books that teach the lesson of tolerance through fictional characters are banned or challenged. That's just my rant on that for now.


"Who I am is who I want to be" -Reba MacIntyre

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I've grown up in a conservative part of the country and with good parenting have been able to reach beyond this conservative outlook that surrounds me. Banning books? Can you believe such an injustice? My neighbors are probably the very people pushing the banning. Proudly I say I have read 75% of the books on that list! I want to make a suggestion to all of you... A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood is the best book ever written. It's a story of how conservative thoughts get turned to law (book banning and anti woman's choice) and how our country will end up if we don't fight for our rights. If you haven't read this book please do so and if you have read it again because you'll always something new you hadn't seen before. (P.S. the book is college level reading material, which was part of a course, and was then passed down to me.)
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Scarleteen Volunteer
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I read the Giver for the first time in the 4th grade. I was touched.

I read the Giver in the 7th grade for an assignment. I was moved, and I began thinking. These people may have freedom from violence, worry, hate, and fear, but they cannot experience love or true happiness. I used that as an answer on a test when I was 12.

I again read the Giver just recently, now out of school and 18. I began to notice some similarities between the thinking of the Elders and the way the US government is pushing things now.

In the 4th grade, I read A Wrinkle in Time, and we went to see the play. I began reading To Kill a Mockingbird in the 7th Grade. Native Son was one of three books in my English 205 class.

It amazes me how people can get so uptight about books. Really. I mean, I didn't care for Of Mice and Men, but that doesn't mean I don't want others to read it.

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Oh man...that's really saddening.
I first found a copy of Annie On My Mind at my local library last winter. That was when I was in a long-distance relationship with my girlfriend, was afraid to "come out", and felt very alone most of the time. It was such a great book and os comforting to find a book about a relationship that I could relate to.

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