One Book Down, 11 To Go
Well, I told you all at the beginning of the week that I was going to be going on a "banned" book tour this week and while I thought I would be able to read three books in seven days, it looks like I'll have to settle with just two. I've been suffering from a pretty nasty cold for a couple of days and my reading output has suffered.
But I finished "The Chocolate War" today and I'm starting "Bridge to Terabithia," as soon as I finish this. I was somewhat disappointed in myself because as I was reading I realized how much I had forgotten since I'd read the novel in my sophomore(?) year. It was almost like reading it for the first time. I'd completely forgotten the ending (which was tremendous), but it was apparent to me that in high school I pretty much approached assigned reading as such: Get it done. Remember as much as you have to for the quiz/report. Move onto the next assignment.
Sad really since there were so many great titles on those required reading lists. So I decided to do something about it. I was tipped off by fahrenheit451moderator on a previous post that the Pelham Public Library in Ontario was going a step further with the "Freedom to Read" campaign and issuing a "Banned Book Challenge." The challenge is to read as many banned or challenged books as you can between now and June 30th. The library is inviting the world to participate and have started a blog with more information about the challenge, list after list of challenged books, as well as plenty of links for further research about censorship and banned books.
I'm taking the challenge and I've pledged to read 12 books by June 30th. I've got a list to work from and was (again) surprised to read some of the titles that have earned challenges. My biggest surprise was the listing of Dr. Seuss' "The Lorax". Apparently, the Laytonville, California School District challenged this classic because it "criminalizes the forestry industry." (One quick wit remarked, "Don't they mean the de-foresting industry?")
So, yes, "TheLorax" has been added to my list of subversive reads and I think I'll have my son bring it to preschool next week when they celebrate the life and writings of Dr. Seuss.
P.S. I just realized that Dr. Seuss' birthday is tomorrow (March 2nd)! In celebration, gather your kids, get your copy of "The Cat in the Hat" and join millions of others in reading this classic tale at 2:36 p.m. tomorrow. And when you're finished with that, check out the Cat in the Hat 50th Birthday website; Send a birthday card to the cat and Random House will donate one book for every birthday card sent to children in need.
While you're there be sure to find out other ways you can help Random House get books into the hands of children who so desperately need them through the Project 236 project. (I was actually saddned to read that MA ranked 50th among all 50 states, Washington D.C. and Canada. Alaska was #1 for cryin' out loud!!)
It's estimated, according to the CITH website, that children in middle-income neighborhoods have on average 13 books per individual child, while children living in low-income neighborhoods have one book for every 13 children. That's appalling! And it's also why public libraries are so important. Literacy is still a BIG issue in the U.S., so be sure to take this opportunity to find out what you can do to help.
Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!!!