My Favorite Banned Books
Hey y'all!As I discussed earlier this week, it's Banned Books Week! This week is all about illuminating those book titles - often in literature for young kids or teens - that are banned. (They're normally restricted on the basis of being morally incorrect, sexual, LGBT-friendly, violent, dealing with substances, full of curse words, or for similar reasons.)Banned Books Week is a great organization that aims to prove these bans wrong; they want to show that it's in fact better to be exposed to these books and learn from them, rather than stay ignorant. (Plus, they advocate for the ability of each reader to choose what he or she would like to read, rather than having a dominant organization or group decide for them.)Many of my favorite books are banned. Many of my favorite books deal with a lot of these "difficult" topics, and are banned under the assumption that they don't mimic regular life. In fact, banning books restricts the idea of the "normal" teenage experience to a small sub-set of relatively suburban, privileged, innocent kids - keeping many kids from being able to see themselves in literature. Hence, #WeNeedDiverseBooks.Without further ado, here are a few banned (or books dealing with similar content) books I wanted to spotlight.1. George by Alex Gino | GoodreadsBanned for: LGBT+ (trans)Heartfelt, important read about a kiddo - George - who knows at an early age she's a girl. A lot of the scenarios described poignantly detail the struggles George encounters, and the book itself is truly eye-opening. I want everyone to read this.2. If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo | GoodreadsBanned for: LGBT+ (trans), drugs, alcoholHeartwrenching read about a girl falling in love for the first time, and being unsure about how to tell her boyfriend that she used to also present as a boy. It's gritty, lovely, and gets to the point.3. Fault Line by Christa Desir | GoodreadsBanned for: sex, violence, language, drugs, alcoholChrista Desir is one of the authors I hold most dear within the YA community. She's a passionate rape activist with a lot of knowledge on challenges in diversity, poverty, and sexual assault. Her unflinching portrayal of a relationship falling apart - because of one's rape - is powerful. Her later books are equally strong, each tackling tough topics in modern culture.4. Those Girls by Lauren Saft | GoodreadsBanned for: sex, language, drugs, alcoholI wrote about this one for a discussion post about why exactly I found it necessary to have morally flawed characters conveyed in young adult literature. All the people within Those Girls (read my review here) are messy and often act out in ways that are dissonant with the sunshine-y, good narrators we're so used to seeing. But their messages, and their experiences, were crafted in ways that were complex and important. Love this book, although I can acknowledge why some people wouldn't.5. Shine by Lauren Myracle | GoodreadsBanned for: LGBT+, violence, drugsIt's been a while since I've read this book - and I actually just remembered it - but it's gorgeous. It deals with a hate crime, and the ripples that it has in its community. It tackles a lot of Southern stereotypes, a lot of the dissonance of tradition vs. the times, and it's intelligent. The lushness of the setting, the timeless drawl of the language, and the earnestness of the protagonist would make it a winner - not even including the thoughtful discussion of the issues.