This is National Banned Book Week and by sheer coincidence, I witnessed a book banning yesterday. More on that later….
The first banned or challenged book I remember reading was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I had not read the outstanding reviews when I selected it, but did so simply because of its haunting, melancholy title. I was blown away by this extraordinary book.
I have read it more than once and have recommended it many times. Every time I see Maya Angelou, I am inspired by her accomplishments and her humanity. Her book still appears frequently on the annual banned or challenged lists, like this one compiled by the National Booksellers.
There are other lists, including one by the American Library Association. Many local libraries have exhibits this week. Celebrate the freedom to read. Select one from the list.
Now, back to the banning I witnessed this week:
While visiting daughter Pogo and her family, I was around for The Homework Ritual, which hasn’t changed since our kids were in school: Off school bus, drop book bag and race to bathroom, hit kitchen for snack, then homework.
For Pogo’s First Grader yesterday, that homework was a book report.
His mom asked what book he’d chosen. He rolled his expressive blue eyes in a move which usually wins hearts and tried to suppress a grin. Finally, he held up his selection: Captain Underpants.
This is the fourth grandson to have latched on to this series and also the fourth to have them mom-banned from being used for book reports. Daughter Boo enacted a similar ban at her house. It isn’t that they’re attempting in any way to have them withdrawn from the schoolroom or the library. Captain Underpants may indeed be the hero that turns a kid on to reading. My daughters, however, have it on good authority that little boys learn plenty of potty humor anyway. They have only to think of their brother.
Good luck with that one, Pogo. As we enjoyed lunch at a neighborhood restaurant, her 2-year-old suddenly gave me his most angelic smile, put his little face close to mine, and informed me that “somebody cut the cheese. ”
He is the official announcer of family flatulence. When Pogo took the boys to a Mexican restaurant one night when their dad was working late and said, “We’ll take the leftovers home for Daddy,” this was the kid who anounced to the restaurant at large, “No! BECAUSE DADDY HAS GAS!”
Oh well. There are other restaurants in the area where they probably won’t be recognized.
On the occasion of his announcement to me, he was absolutely correct. Someone had, indeed. pooted. That somebody had on a Thomas the Tank Engine t-shirt.
And he hasn’t even read Walter the Farting Dog.