Tar and Abby

Sunday, July 10, 2011

We have joined the community of them that bans books

This book we have banned from all classrooms. Even AP and Honors classrooms (classes that you choose to take). Never thought it would happen in our community.

So, of course, I ordered the book. Tomorrow night they are addressing the issue again and I'd like to get through as much of it as possible. Bonus point: it has cartoons! The protagonist makes sense of his senseless world by drawing cartoons (rendered by the illustrator listed above)*.
So far I've laughed out loud, teared up, gotten angry. I say good things for a book to invoke.

And it made me sad as I remember First Nation kids coming to our tiny village in Canada to go to high school. Two hours away, by boat, from their families. They lived with families in our village. The boys played basketball, the girls hung together in a clique and the only time they spoke to me was to call me a 'f'ing b*tch'. So there wasn't much interaction between the groups... why didn't our gov't (BC Provincial) provide the funds so they could go to school and stay home with their families? I can't imagine the stress they were under, living with strange people, going to school with teenagers who are at the worst age to be inclusive and compassionate.

Would a book like this helped? Would it have allowed the boys to speak and the girls to open to friendship? As I recall we were reading the Horatio Hornblower series and The Old Man and the Sea (good books for a village trapped by an ocean). I'd like to think we would have, at least, chipped away at the icy wall between the two groups of kids, helped us grow a bit, open our world.

Isn't this what a good book is supposed to do - invoke thought and discussion? There are discussion questions at the end of the book. I bet there are teacher guides out there.
I'm going to try and get to the meeting and the candidates' meeting that follows the next week.

There is time enough for a lot of classic literature, landmark literature, books that follow the ever changing benchmarks and prepare kids for the ever changing high stakes tests. There should be room for a book (with cartoons!). Or, at least, the choice to include whatever book the teacher and the language department decides will meet their goals. After all we are demanding expertise in the subject area, demanding master's degrees, demanding jumping through qualifying standards and tests, demanding continuing education - and we're going to second guess every single book???

* Trying to remain as anonymous, and non-searchable, as possible. Really, I'm not paranoid - much.


mistress maddie said...

Good for you!!!!!! My uncle is a teacher for a private academy and creates his own lesson cousres from year to year. Anyway twice now he has brought in books for the student to read and has had his hands slapped for letting them read books they had banned, not there was nothing really bad about them. The list of books that are banned, he his, is getting longer. But I say good for you our rebel froggy!!!!!

mrs. miss alaineus said...

i ordered two copies of it with my point stock from scholastic and gave one to my bff for her kids to read. it moved me as well, and aside from a couple of truthful comments about beating off, i didn't find it any worse then the lyrics of popular music or tv shows that are currently broadcast during 'family' hours. people need to understand that kids know more than we think they do- they 'get it' yet the censors don't.


ps miss maddie i'd love to see the list of books your uncle had selected that got bannings

Bob said...

What century is this?
How does this happen?
I will be ordering my copy today and reading it and sharing it.
This hurts me on so many levels.

Sam said...

Gawd it seems we have shifted in to reverse. What the hell is happening?

Joy said...

There is a need for books that let abused kids and those in horrible situations know they are not alone and for others to understand what others go through. His books are excellent.

Big Shamu said...

You have led a very interesting life. It's still hard to believe there are book banners in this day and age.

Big Shamu said...

Now I'm going to have to check this book out.

froggy said...

The title alone gave me, and my family, a chuckle. Having a very odd last name, dark hair, dark eyes and olive skin - we were automatically assumed to be native americans. My Dad would not answer the question of people who asked - not because he was in anyway ashamed of the association - it was because he gauged a person by the amount of time they spent chasing after an answer. The longer they pushed the lower they went in his estimation.