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Why Children’s Books Matter

I wrote this on my personal blog, but, while I’m not aware of Animorphs being banned (though it would not surprise me), this seemed to fit with many of the things I have said on this blog, as children’s books and YA are so frequently banned, often because adults do not think kids can handle mature or complex themes.

salt and iron

This is me and a friend with K. A. Applegate, author of the Animorphs series. Animorphs, Harry Potter, the Julie of the Wolves books, and Harriet the Spy are what made me want to be a writer. So, when K. A. Applegate was scheduled to appear at my local bookstore, my friend and I knew we had to go. What struck me most about actually meeting one of my favorite authors from childhood in the flesh was how she was so encouraging of the kids who liked writing or wanted to be writers and so excited to see her older readers, saying Animorphs fans grew up to be the coolest people. When K. A. Applegate was asking a little girl if she was a writer and encouraging her to be one, I couldn’t help but think how much that would have meant to me as a kid.

K. A. Applegate and…

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I’d Like To Ban Harry Potter: A Response

Many people have tried to (and succeeded in) banning Harry Potter. I’ve been wanting to tackle the books here for years, but never know where to begin (I’ve written two academic papers on the matter and have too much to say) or how to put it in any kind of coherent, non-thesis-y order and then get overwhelmed and put it off again. However, an excellent blog I follow recently wrote a rebuttal to an interview in Times of India, in which a writer gave some odd reasons for wanting to ban the Harry Potter books. Once again it seems the people trying to ban books have all too often never read them. Anyway, it’s an interesting read, so go check it out.

There and Their

Dear Shinie Antony,

Hi! How are you? I read your interview in Times of India today. Being an avid reader myself, I had no idea about your existence till I read your interview.  So, I had to search you on Goodreads. I found that you have written quite a few books yourself..and a total of THIRTEEN  people had rated your most rated book! And most of your books have been rated from the range of 2 to 3.5 stars…wow! Congratulations!!

I am writing to you, because I read your this article:

Now there are a million books out there, and a million more readers. So, I understand that not everybody will be aware of each and every ‘author’ there is. But, do you know, unless the person is living under a rock, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, on some island that has not yet been charted on the…

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Forget the “Gritty” Reboots, The Original Grimm is Here (And Far More Terrifying)

Greetings, readers. First off, I’d like to apologize for neglecting the blog so much recently. Other priorities demanded my attention and I let things get away from me. Anyway, thanks for sticking with me and I’ll be redoubling my efforts to bring you reviews and other banned books news.

To start things off, I bring excellent news for fans of mythology, folktales, fairy tales, German folk culture, and generally scarring children for life. A new translation of the Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales will keep all of the uncensored gory details and the (more) disturbing stories that got left out of the Brother Grimm collection when it was refurbished for children and the then-modern, Christian sensibilities of their parents. So, if you ever wished bedtime stories were more like this, only with more dismemberment and mommy issues, you’re in luck. Read More…

Batgirls, Boy Wonders, and Beyond: A Parent’s Saga

Though often thought of as the domain of kids, many comics these days are written and marketed to adults. As I’ve said before on the blog, assuming a genre or medium is automatically kid-friendly or mindless fluff is where many parents go wrong. It’s also how many things that expect a level of maturity of their young readers, or were never intended for young readers to begin with, get banned. Or how you end up like that mom who accidentally bought her son a pornographic pop-up book because she assumed Game of Thrones was like Narnia.

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BANNED BOOKS WEEK: GRAPHIC CONTENT

Today marks the first day of Banned Books Week, an annual event meant to draw attention to book challenges/removals/bans and other censorship or intellectual freedom issues. This year the event, which runs from September 21-27, will focus specifically on comic books/graphic novels. I’ve already written extensively about the unique history and issues involved in comic book censorship on this blog, so I thought I’d offer a round-up of the highlights, as well as Banned Books Week resources and ideas on how you can get involved. It’s also frequently challenged horror author Stephen King’s birthday today, so let’s hear it for banned horror, banned comics, and the twice-damned banned horror comics! Long may ye remain in our libraries. Read More…

Another Year of Banned Books

Merry met, my dear readers. It seems my blog has been around for another year. And it has been quite the year here at the Bound and Gagged Banned Books Blog. One of my posts was Freshly Pressed, another was quoted in The Huffington Post, and we went from about 50 followers to over 2,000. So whether you’re new to the blog or have stuck by us since the beginning, thank you. Thank you for reading, sharing, commenting, and taking the time to come to our little corner of the internet.

This year we also gained two excellent writers. Hannah and Victoria Lepore were both kind enough to grace the blog with their thoughts, rants, and insights, joining me and Elliot Oberholtzer on our banned book crusade. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all three of them for contributing to the blog, for taking the time to write such thoughtful reviews, and for being generally awesome human beings.

I hope you’ll all stick with us for yet another year of banned book reviews, censorship news, and the occasional nerdrage. Banned Books Week is fast approaching, so check back for more Bound and Gagged goodness (not nearly as kinky as it sounds). In the meantime, enjoy this look back at the last year of banned book reviews. Read More…

Heaven, Neverland, Paradise: All Lost

THE DEFENDANT: The Amber Spyglass, part 3 of the His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman. See also Shannon’s reviews of The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife.

THE VERDICT: Pullman himself has no idea why Harry Potter gets in trouble while his own books fly under the radar. As he says, “The people who complain that Harry Potter promotes Satanism or witchcraft obviously haven’t got enough in their lives. Meanwhile, I’ve been flying under the radar, saying things that are far more subversive than anything poor old Harry has said. My books are about killing God.”

THE CHARGES: “political and religious viewpoints,” violence, sexuality, and an overall attitude that morality is relative. By my count this book includes killing God, destroying hell, insinuating that heaven cannot exist, and touches on topics like cannibalism, euthanasia, intelligent design, evolution, child sexuality, and then there are some gay angels thrown in there just in case the rest wasn’t enough. In some publications a paragraph describing Lyra’s sexual awakening was removed.

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