HARRY POTTER – THE MOST BANNED BOOK IN AMERICA

Published May 15, 2013 by Shadow Girl

Soon you may find me, in a dark alley behind a bookstore or a library, wearing a trench-coat and sunglasses, whispering to passers-by… “psst.. hey man, yeah, you…. ‘mere… wanna read a book?”


2012-09-07-Potter_400x300
YES, you read that correctly.
According to the American Library Association, the Harry Potter series has now not just joined the ranks of such classics as as The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, The Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, & 1984, by George Orwell, but has passed them all to become The Most Banned Book in America. That puts J.K. Rowling arm in arm with Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou!
How messed up is that?
“It is undeniable that themes of death and resurrection abound in the stories, as well as detailed depictions of potions and other hocus pocus. But while there are Christians who decry the celebration of witchcraft, there are other Christians who consider Harry’s journey an edifying allegory for Jesus Christ.” (O.o What!?)
I’m a filthy, dirty, hellbound pagan, and loved these books – not because I learned to point a tree branch and fix my glasses, or because they were a covert way to teach my son about my religious beliefs. But, for the same reason I enjoyed any other fictional book, for the characters I fell in love with, for the stories I got lost in, for the joy of reading a phenomenal story!
As much as I want to rant & rave about the people who believe that these books are anything other than fictional novels, I’m trying to hold my tongue. But, they’re the same people who banned Captain Underpants.

CAPTAIN BANNED!


“That is another problem with banning books: it obscures the diversity of viewpoints within its potential readership.” Once they’re banned, the only people who discuss their viewpoints – are the narrow-minded one-way thinkers.
Thankfully at least 450 million copies have been sold, so there is little danger that an eager reader will not be able to drudge up a copy. But, this wasn’t always the case!
::RANT::
Yet me ask you this, with fanatics such as Fred Phelps (for example), who twist around the words in that all holy book to fit their way of bigotry and hatred… why hasn’t The Holy Bible been banned every hotel in America?
::/END RANT::
About a decade ago, PEN joined with the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression to support an initiative called KidSpeak, a website designed to encourage kids to debate free expression issues and, at least initially, to debate whether J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series should be censored. The conversation had been prompted by a number of religious groups that claimed the fantasy series about young wizards promoted occultism and paganism, thereby undermining Christian values. Here is a response from a fifth grader: “I think the Harry Potter case is just crazy. I have an idea that kids seven and under need a permission slip to see if it’s okay for seven and under to read Harry Potter books. If parents of kids eight and older complain, the principal should just talk to them and tell them that it’s just fantasy.”
How are kids so intelligent & well spoken?
OH! That’s right…
THEY READ!
What stands out about this student’s response, and the response from the rest of the elementary school classroom, is not just her indignation at the idea of censoring the Potter books — she crafted a policy that would protect younger children. The discussion prompted the student to think about free expression and also to develop her own creative solutions to address the concerns of others who held views different from her own.
Since the publication of The Sorcerer’s Stone in 1997, kids have discussed, dissected and debated the books with a critical eye. Anyone who has listened to Mugglecast, a podcast for Harry Potter lovers, must acknowledge the close textual reading of every single chapter of the series, and fan fiction sites abound in an efflorescence of, albeit channeled, creativity. These books have taught children to read, to think, to write and to criticize, all hallmarks of free expression! How can that be a bad thing?
It’s these kids, the ones who learned to think critically & write creatively, who will soon be flooding the literary world with their ideas. These are also the ones who will probably be on a banned list of their own. And, that, is what gives me hope.
forbidden

DISCUSSION?
What has been your favorite book that has ended up on the BANNED LIST?
What do you think is the craziest book to end up in the BANNED LIST has been?

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19 comments on “HARRY POTTER – THE MOST BANNED BOOK IN AMERICA

  • Let me start by saying that I live in an European country with deep and old Christianity roots but you could call me an atheist (although I dislike labels). To this day I’m still amazed by the fundamentalism of some Americans and the amount of banned (or challenged books) in a country that claims to be the flagship of freedom. The amount of challenged books in my country in the last 30 years can be counted with your fingers and not a single one of those was ever banned (at least officially).

    I won’t even try to discuss why books shouldn’t be banned or enter into an argument defending a book. That’s going down to a level I try to stay clear from. Quoting from George Carlin “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.”

    Instead I’d like to discuss how it is that there are so many fundamentalist and freedom of speech oppressor’s in America… What exactly causes this, and what’s these groups interest, is it economical? are they trying to control youngsters? or is it just that they truly believe what they’re saying?

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  • To Kill A Mockingbird has always been a favorite of mine. I still don’t understand why HP is on the list – it is such a controversy, no matter who you are. I also know Christians who love it and Christians who are skeptical as well.

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    • I didn’t mean anything by pointing out my religion, I just felt that pointing it out for the case of ‘ even we see this as a fun, fantasy/fiction series, not a tool to convert the youth’.

      I also forgot to say this, maybe I understand why some books are banned from the school system, but, only in cases of books like 50 SHADES OF GREY, . BUT, again, I haven’t read them yet…they may have a place in a high-school curriculum. Maybe they’d inspire discussions of the symbolism behind bondage, or something like that.
      So, let’s whittle it down even further. I understand why porno mags are banned from the school system. They are age restricted. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I wasn’t offended or upset, just to clarify – just saying I knew similar people. ๐Ÿ™‚ My exact sentiments.

    I agree with your second comment, in relation to 50 Shades of Grey – but even though high school would probably get their hands on them, I’d say that they would probably be better off as college material. I have read them – the writing itself is not anything spectacular and the “bondage” and sex scenes are not as scandalous as people say they are. I agree that they would be good for setting up a conversation, but definitely a college situation.

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    • Oh good! Sometimes I think I should go back and delete things. I didn’t mean for it to be a real strong point, just a passing thing. But, you see the other comment also speaks of religion, so… maybe I’ll edit this a little after work.
      If the sex scenes aren’t that scandalous, I can skip reading the series! Haha! I only wanted to read them to be able to have a frame of reference. If they’re not worth it, I’ll stick to the SLEEPING BEAUTY series for my guilty pleasure reading! Haha!

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  • Lame. I’m a Christian and I don’t think Harry Potter should be banned. But I don’t think any book should be banned. Not atheistic books, not Christian books, not any kind of books. Free speech works best when it’s free. And if a certain belief system is true or right, it won’t be damaged by having lots of opinions around on it. While I don’t think people should write books solely for the purpose of tearing other beliefs down or to be hateful, I also don’t think that speech should be limited. Let those people deal with the consequences of their words, either by zero sales or getting themselves excluded from certain communities. But there is no reason any sort of governmental force should be telling us what not to read, despite any so-called “good-intentioned” people behind them. Free speech must go both ways or it really isn’t free speech.

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    • Yup, gonna edit out the part about my religion ๐Ÿ˜‰

      “Let those people deal with the consequences of their words”
      You’re so on point!

      I have a lot I want to comment on, I love how you expressed this! But, again, my blog is running me late for work! I will get more into this when I get home.
      Thank you for getting in on the discussion!

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    • See, can’t walk away… gonna be so late!
      But, that’s the point! I think Fred Phelps is an ass-hat, but he has every right to his beliefs. I hope he does suffer the consequences of his actions, but… You totally get my point ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  • I was shocked by notions to ban Huckleberry Finn, To Kill A Mockingbird, etc. because that’s just crazy! The whole racism part is PART OF THE POINT! You should be outraged, THAT’S THE POINT! Gosh…>>

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  • That’s a beautiful idea! Haha!
    When I get home from work, I’ll link you to the main pages I was looking at to research some stuff, and, you’ll get as flabbergasted as I was! Even if it’s just you & me, we’ll have fun!!

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  • I was talking to a coworker about this today. Fantasy / Fiction … it’s not like we are introducing “Harry” as a replacement for The Bible, or any other religous book. I read for pleasure, and so much non-fiction can cause a lack of pleasure and I need a Fantasy / Fiction / Sci-Fi break every now and again.

    I agree that “Harry” has gotten darker through the series, but my opinion with anything is “Do parents pay attention to what their kids are doing?” My daughter (11 yrs old) has been bothering me for “Twilight” and “Harry”. I let her read the first 1 or 2 of “Harry” but no “Twilight”, I don’t feel she’s old enough. Parents need to parent, government needs to step off.

    I do find it funny that “50 Shades” can be sold at any Family Retailer, but “Harry” is under the spotlight.

    I feel this all falls under “Freedom of Press” and “Freedom of Religion”…

    IF IT BOTHERS YOU, DONT BUY IT !!! BOTTOM LINE !!!

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    • Stephanie Meyer (sp) tried to keep the Twinight series tween friendly, has everyone read them? If not, skip next part…
      **********SPOILER ALERT **********
      Edward wouldn’t turn Bella until her 18th birthday, but, I cannot remember about any actual sex. I love you for reading books before her, that is wonderful! You’re a great dad.You’re also 100% right, parents need to parent and the government needs to back off.
      (If your daughter likes horror, check out the blog post about Marissa Wood & her YA horror.
      I need to check if the one is free yet, too ๐Ÿ™‚
      I’m leaving for dinner, but, I’ll continue when I get home ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Another way of saying โ€œIโ€™m scaredโ€. Mommy said Santa, Mommy said Tooth Fairy, Mommy said God. OK for little kids, now that youโ€™re adults you understand the difference between good lies and bad lies. Really?

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