This book she holds in her hand.
This book she held in her head, then shared with the word.
This book that, if it were a CD, readers would listen to on repeat.
This book that contains a scene which offended someone, which led to a challenge, which led to a committee review. They - the capital T-kind of They - decided that this book could stay on the shelves.
We should celebrate.
They are going to keep this book in the library - and (partially, lightly, barely, noticeably) deface it. They are going to put a sticker on the front cover to let everyone know that this book is for "mature readers."
That's funny, considering it was an adult - whose maturity is assumed, based on age - who challenged it. Funny because adults are supposed to more mature than teenagers. More knowledgeable. More accepting.
What exactly is a mature reader? Will interested parties have to take a multiple-choice test before being permitted to check out this book? How many questions will truly have right answers?
What will be stickered? What won't be stickered? What will the stickers say?
Why not sticker everything? There's something for everything, something for everyone. Something to object, something to support.
"Warning: The dog doesn't live."
"Note: This book dares to be different."
"You'll wish you had written this book."
"You have to read this book."
Each person who checks out this book - that's this book, this challenged book, this book which will challenge you - should be allowed to put another sticker on the front cover. These stickers will depict their favorite symbols and characters. There will be labels that bear the names of readers. There may be scribbles that declare this book well-written and prove its readers discerning, appreciative, daring.
Then, even when the book is closed, the well-stickered cover will speak of its contents and its readers.
Then, even if They-with-the-capital-T remove the cover, the well-worn spine will speak of its chapters and its re-reads.
If the library were a beach, then each book would be a precious shell.
Hold this book up to your ear.
Can you hear the ocean?
They Tried to Ban This Book Today, or,
There's a Sticker on the Cover of This Book
© Little Willow @ Bildungsroman
This piece was written on Friday, January 11th, 2008 as a response to this and that.
I was surprised and honored to find this piece linked at Beneath the Cover's Recommending Reading sidebar on Monday, January 14th, 2008. Thank you!
Please note: In speaking of the scene that caused the challenge, the article gives away a CRUCIAL part of the book. Also, the first line of this piece includes the word "ban" because it is part of a series about challenges, bannings, and censorship, and all of those pieces share the same opening line.
I Read Banned Books: Celebrating Banned Books Week, Intellectual Freedom, and Literacy
The Bermudez Triangle by Maureen Johnson: Too Cool for School?
Roundtable: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Roundtable: Sarah Dessen Novels