I woke up this morning reflecting on the PBS special last night, The Great American Read. I was surprised at some of the books on the “banned books” list. Most notably, I was surprised about The Giver by Lois Lowry.
I’ll admit, I did not read The Giver as a child; I was well into adulthood before I came across it and I loved it. So last night I wondered why it had been banned, thinking there was no profanity or sexual content.
It had been years since I’d read The Giver, so I had forgotten many of the details. Naturally I searched up “Why was The Giver Banned?” In this informative article, I discovered The Giver was quite high on the list of banned and controversial books. The reason, I soon discovered, was #1 violence, #2 unsuited to the age group. Ah, yes, then I remembered some of the details that might be disturbing for younger children but wouldn’t have impacted me as an adult reader.
The article contained a chart of the top five reasons The Giver has been challenged and comparisons to all books with those same reasons. I’ve pasted the chart below:
Now as I was reminiscing on books and banned books and the various reasons people ask to have books removed from libraries or classrooms, it occured to me that my very own book, Seed Savers Treasure, sits alongside The Giver and other books that offend.
Just yesterday I received a sorrowful email from a teacher who was using my books in her horticultural program. The students were in the middle of the book, the author had been secured for a visit, and then one parent complained about #4: religious viewpoint. Because in Treasure there is a Bible.
I felt really bad for the teacher. I felt bad for the students. I was sorry I wouldn’t get to visit their really cool horticulture program to talk about gardening, writing, technology, food, etc. And I thought to myself what a silly and offended culture we are becoming.
But now even as I write this, I fear someone will be offended by that last thought. I mean no offense.
In fact, after watching The Great American Read and hearing which books have been banned or controversial and then realizing Treasure sits on that shelf alongside them, I felt a little proud. I’m sitting a bit taller as I type this. 🙂
Sandra Smith is the author of the awesome and award-winning middle grade/YA series, Seed Savers. Visit her Facebook and Pinterest pages. Follow her on Twitter. Sign up for the newsletter!