SCL Picks: Banned Books Week Edition

Happy First Amendment Day! In honor of Banned Books Week, this week we’ll be highlighting items in the SCL collection that have been at one time or another banned, challenged, or otherwise contested.

Today’s pick is Toni Morrison’s 1987 classic, Beloved:

“Proud and beautiful, Sethe escaped from slavery but is haunted by its heritage–from the fires of the flesh to the heartbreaking challenges to the spirit. Set in rural Ohio several years after the Civil War, this profoundly affecting chronicle of slavery and its aftermath is Toni Morrison’s greatest work.” (Source: Syndetic Solutions

The American Library Association website lists the following points of contention over the years:

“Challenged at the St. Johns County Schools in St. Augustine, FL (1995). Retained on the Round Rock, TX Independent High School reading list (1996) after a challenge that the book was too violent. Challenged by a member of the Madawaska, ME School Committee (1997) because of the book’s language. The 1987 Pulitzer Prize winning novel has been required reading for the advanced placement English class for six years. Challenged in the Sarasota County, FL schools (1998) because of sexual material.  Retained on the Northwest Suburban High School District 214 reading listing in Arlington Heights, IL (2006), along with eight other challenged titles.  A board member, elected amid promises to bring her Christian beliefs into all board decision-making, raised the controversy based on excerpts from the books she’d found on the Internet.  Challenged in the Coeur d’Alene School District, ID (2007).  Some parents say the book, along with five others, should require parental permission for students to read them.  Pulled from the senior Advanced Placement (AP) English class at Eastern High School in Louisville, KY (2007) because two parents complained that the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel about antebellum slavery depicted the inappropriate topics of bestiality, racism, and sex.  The principal ordered teachers to start over with The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne in preparation for upcoming AP exams.”

Curious to see what all the fuss is about? Come by the Stone Center Library and read it for yourself!

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