Banned Books Week.

I wonder if other authors aspire to be on the list of most challenged books in their careers?  I just roll my eyes when I see the latest list of “banned books”. Many of my favorite books always make those lists. I hate to see creativity stifled. I hate to see the First Ammendment and Freedom of Speech challenged. If someone doesn’t like a book, don’t read it, review it critically but seriously? Banning a book? How wrong is that? PBS is talking about Banned Books week on NOW.

These are the 10 most challenged books of 2008.

he “10 Most Challenged Books of 2008,” according to the ALA were:

“And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell
Reasons: anti-ethnic, anti-family, homosexuality, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group

“His Dark Materials” trilogy by Philip Pullman
Reasons: political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, and violence

“TTYL; TTFN; L8R, G8R (series)” by Lauren Myracle
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group
“Scary Stories” (series), by Alvin Schwartz
Reasons: occult/satanism, religious viewpoint, and violence

“Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya
Reasons: occult/satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, sexually explicit, and violence

“The Perks of Being a Wallflower” by Stephen Chbosky
Reasons: drugs, homosexuality, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit, suicide, and unsuited to age group

“Gossip Girl” (series) by Cecily von Ziegesar
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

“Uncle Bobby’s Wedding” by Sarah S. Brannen
Reasons: homosexuality and unsuited to age group

“The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini
Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited to age group

“Flashcards of My Life” by Charise Mericle Harper
Reasons: sexually explicit and unsuited to age group

Glad to see Rudofo Anaya’s Bless Me Ultima still makes the list. That is one of my favorite books. It was the first book I read that was about my people– New Mexico Hispanics. I felt his characters come to life, they were people I knew growing up and I loved his use of language and visuals in the story.  The critics never get the point of the story. They always pull out the “occult and satanism” when they describe the book. The old woman, Ultima, is a healer, a curadera. She doesn’t worship Satan or practice the occult. It infuriates me to read descriptions like that.  Not that it has hurt the book any way. It’s still in print and still read and beloved by many.

As a writer, from New Mexico, of Hispanic descent, I look to Anaya  as a role model.  Now, I aspire to write a book that will be banned. I also should reread that story as I picked up a paperback copy of it. It’s my third.  I had a beautifully illustrated hard back copy that I loaned to a friend and haven’t gotten back and the one I got in high school disappeared som ewhere, anyway, I love this story. I love his writing and need to read more of his work actually. But in a way, because of his ability to get published and be known as the father of Chicano Literature, he has opened up the door for other writers, those published and those apspiring to be published to have our stories told.

FYI, these are the most challenged books from 1990-2000

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