The effort to ban controversial books from young readers is nothing new, but the pushback from one Alaskan town to their school board is making headlines this week. A recent CNN article revealed that an Alaskan school board has voted to remove the following 5 books from from elective high school classes:
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby
- Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
- Joseph Heller's Catch-22
- Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried
- Maya Angelou's I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
Most of the dissent over these books stems from whether students should be exposed to or sheltered from complex issues such as racism, sexual assault and violence, all of which are presented in these books. The community's resistance towards banning has been strong, with individuals resorting to creative ways to make sure these stories are heard. One City Council member decided to read excerpts of the books live on her Facebook every night. Another Alaskan attorney started a reward system for students who read the books. Hundreds have joined a Facebook group to boycott their removal. Kelsey Trimmer, a board member who voted against the ban, worries that teenagers will feel alone without books on difficult experiences, explaining how "there are many, many students in our district who don't know that the trauma maybe they've experienced is trauma that somebody else has written about and yes, they can go and talk to somebody."
Whether they make it into classrooms or not, at Books-a-Million we carry books that tell every story. Check out some of our favorite banned books here!