Sunday, February 27, 2005


From Blue Valley to Blue Springs: It's Book Banning Season

A group of Blue Springs parent's (that's in the Kansas City metro area) who first wanted to ban Lois Lowry's "The Giver" from the Blue Springs schools now insist they only want some say over what's in the reading list there. Apparently, they got a little more sophisticated in what they're demanding after getting some coaching from Janet Harmon, the Blue Valley soccer mom, who doesn't want her son to read anything that might challenge the indoctrination he's getting at home.

These good citizens say "The Giver" is twisted. Here's what Publishers Weekly says:

Winner of the 1994 Newbery Medal, this thought-provoking novel centers on a 12-year-old boy's gradual disillusionment with an outwardly utopian futuristic society; in a starred review, PW said, "Lowry is once again in top form... unwinding a tale fit for the most adventurous readers."

Now, another group of parents has stepped forward to defend the book and reading choices for their children.

"The Giver" is particularly difficult for religious fundamentalists to swallow because, for them, it hits way too close to home. Twelve-year-old Jonas, the hero of the story, learns the horrible, hidden truth about his comfortable existence as a member of a well-ordered community when he is assigned the burden of being the holder of all its memories. In the process, he learns the real costs of living in a society that is "without color, pain, or past."

The community that "The Giver" is set in looks a lot like the one right-wingers are trying to force the rest of us to live in. That's why they don't want anyone to read it.


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