As National Banned Book Week comes to an end, I thought I would share my favorite banned book and ironically, one of my favorite books of all time. I was in the fifth grade when my teacher, Mrs. Huggins first read to us The Giver. I don’t recall if we read the book as a class or if it was one of the books she would read to us as a reward. But I do recall how much I loved the story. In fact, she introduced us to several books that have remained some of my favorite books from my childhood and I have always referred to her as my favorite teacher. Because let’s be honest, it’s not often a teacher really inspires children to read. But Mrs. Huggins did that for our class. Needless to say, it impacted me and I have loved the book ever since.
I was actually surprised to see The Giver in the window display as a banned book at my local library. I couldn’t even fathom why someone would get up in arms about it. So I did a little research into the top reasons for people trying to ban this wonderful book.
Unsuited for Age Group
Everything I have read, shows this is a book for Middle Schoolers/Teens/Young Adult. I was introduced to it in the fifth grade. So, I can’t really agree with this complaint. If anything, I’m surprised I understood the context of the book at such a young age. But that’s what my teacher was trying to do. She wanted us to think and to understand and evaluate the story’s plot as well as how/why the society in the book was the way it was. It’s a thought provoking book and as a parent, I want my children to be able to achieve that same sense of understanding, that I did.
I feel this reasoning is extremely far-fetched, because this has to be in regards to the memories Jonas receives about war or the fact that when a member of the society is released they are actually murder with a lethal injection. Yes, I view the actions of the members being released as murder. But to the people who are giving these injections, they know no difference. The whole point of this world that Lowry created is that they have no emotions. They are not murdering these people out of malice or rage. They are doing it because that is how their society works. It’s no different than an animal who is too old or sick to survive, being left behind by it’s pack/herd/pride, etc.
Are you kidding me? Yes, they discuss the sexual urges Jonas begins to feel after he stops taking his meds. But this is NOT SEXUALLY EXPLICIT. It’s a fact of life and every teenager goes through this. He’s attracted to Fiona, but I would hardly call anything in this book sexually explicit.
There is no religion, therefore this is a moot excuse.
This is the only valid reason I have seen and considering the fact it was handled extremely well, I still don’t agree. She didn’t jump off a cliff. She asked to be released. This is not an unacceptable practice in the society that is in this story. She was unable to emotionally handle the burden that was being placed upon her and she made a choice. I don’t agree with her choice, but compared to other books I’ve read, this is really not that significantly awful and I feel the author handled the situation with a class that is hard to look down on.
So you tell me, do you think this book should be banned? And what is your favorite banned book?