Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books Week: Missouri School Celebrates by Banning Slaughterhouse Five


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It seems the Republic, MO school district has a different idea about the meaning of Banned Books Week.  To celebrate, it decided to ban two books. (For news coverage, click here)

Slaughterhouse Five, Kurt Vonnegut's classic of time travel and the horrors of war, is rated as number 18 in Modern Library's  top 100 novels of the 20th Century (click here) and is listed in Time Magazine's 100 greatest English language novels since 1923 (Click here for list).

It is also being banned by the school board in Republic, Missouri, along with Sarah Ockler's Twenty Boy Summer, a book that explores teenage relationships and sexuality.  Only one of the four school board members had read either book.

Banned Books Week - September 30-October 5 - is sponsored by the American Library Association.  It celebrates the freedom to read and the dangers of those who want to control what we can read. 

Wesley Scroggins, a Missouri State University business professor, took it upon himself to rally opposition to Slaughterhouse Five because it contained (in his opinion) too many curse words and was unchristian.  "How can Christian men and women expose children to such immorality?" Scroggins wrote in a local newspaper column.

Slaughterhouse Five remains on the list of most frequently targeted banned books.  The American Library Association has prepared a list of the top targeted books by decade. For the past decade, the most targeted books?  Harry Potter.  

Among the other most-targeted books:  J.D. Sallinger's Catcher in the Rye, Maya Angelo's Now I Know Why Caged Birds Sing, John Steinbeck's Of Mice and Men, Judy Blume's Forever, and still Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. 

For the complete list of most banned books in the past decade, click here.

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