If this is your first time here, Welcome! Ellie & Elizabeth is a lifestyle blog where I (I'm Elizabeth, and Ellie is the tiny, sweetest dog ever) discuss french country, farmhouse style decorating while revealing what I'm doing in my own home. Faith, recipes and family friendly topics are also thrown in there, which is what we have today. You'll meet my other half, Ellie the Havanese, at the end of each post!
I'm so glad you are here! On with the story!
FALL BREAK AND THE CONTROVERSY
During Fall Break, Hubby and I found ourselves four hours from home with our children, listening to our youngest son's favorite author, Raina Telgemeier, announce that her books had been banned in some places.
SCREECH....STOP RIGHT THERE...SAY WHAT???
Hubby and I looked at each other with raised eyebrows. Oh great, what in the world has my kid been reading? And we brought him here to meet her at this book signing...I mean, I thumbed through the book SMILE and it was just about a kid getting her teeth knocked out when she tripped... ???
Raina Telgemeier's books (SMILE, DRAMA, GHOSTS) are written as novel length comic books, also known as graphic novels, and were mostly purchased for Bear, our fifth grader, through the school's Scholastic book orders. They are also on the list of books he is to read to get points for the reading program at school. I never dreamed there was content in them that could be banned...sigh. When we looked over at Bear, he just grinned like the cat that had swallowed the canary. He clearly knew there was questionable content in there. *If you don't know Bear's mischievous side, read a proper introduction here. Let's just say that I have a lot of gray hair, but he and my oldest son are also pretty hilarious.
We are trying so hard to be good parents and it seems like everything out there that is promoted toward children anymore goes against what we are trying to teach.
Then I remembered myself at his age, my favorite author, Judy Blume, and her banned books. You couldn't have pried her books from my little grade school hands without a fight.
I was a bookworm and read every one of her books. It was the early 80's, Izod was a big deal and so was The Official Preppy Handbook, but Judy Blume was where it was at. Blubber stands out the most in my mind because it was the first one I ever read. It was real, raw and it detailed every kid's fear of being the one in the class who was picked on. I don't remember all the situations in the book and I haven't read it since, but I later learned that Judy Blume's books were banned from some libraries. Thankfully, they weren't banned at my house! I can't imagine my childhood without her. Her books were the closest thing to the internet that we had back then. They were written about subjects that no one talked about and everyone I knew devoured them as soon as they could get a hold of one. I don't know if she did book tours but I would have been thrilled to meet her back then and even today.
Reading books are still big deal at our house nowadays, so when Bear's all time favorite author was featured at a discussion/book signing event last weekend, I knew we had to go. I didn't tell him ahead of time because like any kid, he can drive me a little crazy when he's anticipating something. Are we there yet? Do you think she'll be nice or ? Oh my gosh, this is cool...Do you think I'll have to wait in line because I don't like to wait in line... He was so excited when he finally realized why we were going on the road trip.
The event was held at the Columbus Metropolitan Library and it was AMAZING! Our little Kentucky town has a tiny library which is nice but wowsa, this was over the top. It was a gorgeous, multilevel building and I kind of just wanted to move right in. It even had a coffee shop and, wait for it, copies upon copies of the same book...Now I know that might be the norm for you big city folks, but over here in the country, we normally get one book, possibly two and definitely no coffee.
Despite learning of the book banning ordeal, we really enjoyed the day and hearing Raina speak with the author that inspired her, Jeff Smith (he writes 'Bone,' though we aren't familiar with his writing). Although I still want to know why her books were banned, I think if my child is that interested in the controversial content, it probably needs to be discussed at home, not banned and put away as if it's not happening out there in the real world. Putting my head in the sand doesn't mean my child and others aren't dealing with subjects that may be uncomfortable for me to discuss. Most importantly though, I do want to make sure my values are taught to my kids instead of a point of view that I don't agree with. If Raina is to my son like Judy Blume was to me, then I'll have to investigate further and not just squash his love of reading.
Everything in the early 80's just seemed easier. To be ten again...How tough could the issues have been when all you were worried about was what color the little alligator was on your Izod shirt? With those clogs? Or was it jelly shoes? All snuggled up on a rainy day, reading Judy Blume.
What do you think? Did you love Judy Blume like me? Would you let your child read books that have been banned? Should books ever be banned? Let me hear from you!
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