Spirit of freedom shines through with reading of challenged and banned books

Dennis Gosnell

Assignment Editor

Students, faculty, and staff assembled outside of the LRC Oct. 1 to participate in a banned books readout.

“Freedom to read” is the motto of Banned Books Week, a week in which individuals nationwide gather and participate in events that celebrate the First Amendment.

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Books that were read during the Readout and why they are challenged:

  • “The White Mans Bible by Ben Klassen” – “There are only 19 copies worldwide,” Brad Robison said.  Book talks about the eventual ascension of the supreme race, and the origination of the Church of Creation.
  • “A wrinkle in time” by Madeleine L’Engle- Accused of containing offensive language, and that it undermines religious beliefs and challenges individual’s idea of God.
  • “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee– For it’s depiction of racist content, and other inappropriate imagery.
  • “The Diary of a Young Girl” by Anne Frank – Contains passages that were considered “sexually offensive,” as well as for the tragic nature of the book, which some felt might be “depressing” for young readers.
  • “The Giver” by Lois Lowry – Some of the most common objections were over violent and sexual scenes, infanticide, euthanasia, and “sexual awakening.”
  • “The Lorax” by Dr. Seuss – For being an allegorical political commentary. Specifically, it was banned in the Laytonville, California School District on grounds that this book “criminalizes the forestry industry.”
  • “James and the Giant Peach” by Roald Dahl – Banned for being too scary for the targeted age group, mysticism, sexual inferences, profanity, racism, references to tobacco and alcohol, and claims that it promotes disobedience, drugs, and communism.
  • “Bridge to Terabitha” by Katherine Paterson – Challenged because children build an imaginary kingdom, promotes secular humanism and New Age religion.
  • “And Tango Makes Three” by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson – Content promotes homosexuality.
  • “A Light in the Attic” by Shel Silverstein – “How Not To Have To Dry The Dishes” encourages kids to break the dishes so that they don’t have to wash them. “Little Abigail and the Beautiful Pony” was considered too morbid for children since it discusses death. And was criticized for mentioning supernatural themes, including demons, devils, and ghosts.
  • “Oh, The Places You Go” by Dr. Seuss – Inappropriate content for age group.

There will be another readout 12 p.m. Oct. 2 in front of the LRC, and it is another chance for students, faculty, and staff to participate in keeping the “Freedom to Read” alive.

By 15th Street News Posted in Raider Life Tagged A Light in the attic, A wrinkle in Time, And a Tango Makes Three, Anne Frank, , , Ben Klassen, Bridge To Terabitha, , Dr. Seuss, , Harper Lee, James and the Giant Peach, Katherine Paterson, , Madeleine L''Engle, Oh, Peter Parnell, read out, Ronald Dahl, Shel Silverstien, The Diary Of A Young Girl, , The Lorax, The Places you go, To Kill A Mockingbird, White mans Bible

Staff Banned Book Pick: The Catcher in the Rye

: The Catcher in the Rye

By: Narges Taghavi

Feature Editor


J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” is an exceptional story. Although, it might not be something you’ll find the modern day teenager reading and parents might be startled by the novels unrefined content; the story is one that is timeless.  The story follows sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield; a New Yorker that is unlike most teenage boys. He not interested in pop culture or fitting, because he finds that being real is better than going through life as a copy. Although, he has been kicked out of many schools and does not like learning, he is quite knowledgeable an unorthodox sort of way. Throughout the whole story Holden is a very blunt and honest person that doesn’t fabricate the world and is all about what is real.


One of the greatest things about the book is it’s relatable. The character of Holden is much like J.D. Salinger, but he could just as easily convey the reader or someone in his or her life. The book is a “coming of age” tale, its matter rings true still today. It depicts the un-talked about rubbish of the adolescent genre.


Caulfield is at the crossroads between adolescences and adulthood, and though he very mature for his age, he longs for the innocence of youth and is disgusted that nearly half of society is filled with “phoniness.” Many people find that because of its subject matter the book should be banned, but the content is why the book is considered a work of genius.


Many coming-of-age novels touch on subjects like sexuality and religion, but J.D. Salinger brings these issues into light full force, and shows the complexity of them. He paints a very realistic picture of puberty for the reader. It is a wonderful reader for adults and teens a like. Holden questions lots of things about the world and deals with norms of society and breaking down the walls and guidelines present in the world today.

By 15th Street News Posted in Entertainment, Features Tagged Adolescences, , Classic, Holden Caulfield, J.D. Salinger, Realistic, The Catcher in the Rye, Unrefined Content

Meeting of Minds…. or not

Dennis Gosnell, Assignment Editor

To start off “Banned Books” week, RSC held a panel to discuss the concept of government control over the censorship of books.

KOCO Eyewitness News Anchor Wendell Edwards moderated the panel; which consisted of Rep. Jason Nelson, Former Corporation Commissioner Jim Roth, and Executive Vice President of the Oklahoma Press Association Mark Thomas.

The panel discussed the need for caution in deciding to ban a book and the ways that Oklahoma has dealt with this issue. The central question remains, is it right or wrong for government to decide what is banned or what is not.

One issue discussed was the King and King book by Linda de Haan, which became the focus of removal attempts by politicians to ensure that young children had no access to it.  Some community members found the book offensive because it teaches acceptance of people’s choice in life partners which differ from societal norms.

“When deciding what to do about this situation we came to a compromise, with the book and other books of sensitivity being added to a ‘parental’ section,” Roth said. This was done to allow the books to remain accessible to all.

An audience member questioned the policy of selecting and segregating books to the parental section based on their content. “We wanted to allow books to be accessible to everyone, but to appease some there needed to be a compromise,” Roth said.

The panel went on to discuss the difference between censorship and self-censorship. The two are considerably different. Censorship, by law-making entities, reflects the banning or limiting of accessibility of selected books for everyone.

Self-censorship is an individual taking the responsibility to maintain their ethics by limiting access specifically for themselves and their children without compromising the greater accessibility of others.

“’Offense is subjective and becomes the responsibility of those parents who should be aware of what a child reads,” Roth said. On this issue the panel agreed that forcing others to limit their access to knowledge is wrong and that individuals who take offense to a book should ignore it, so that others don’t lose accessibility.

When Edwards questioned the panel about whether the government had a right to control access of information. The panel agreed that such control would diminish human rights and would create a frightening environment.

Laws to restrict accessibility of books infringe on rights granted in the Bill of Rights. “Government does not represent an individual but the majority and minority equally,” Thomas said. To ensure that the community has input in their library collections, community library boards are formed to determine which books reflect the neighborhood values.

When the panel adjourned, they agreed that banning a book limits the forward progress of a democratic society and hinders intellectual development.

Attendees watch as Wendell Edwards, KOCO Eyewitness Anchor, moderates banning books debate with Rep. Jason Nelson, Jim Roth, former Corporation Commissioner, and Mark Thomas, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association. Photo by Dennis Gosnell

By 15th Street News Posted in News Tagged , Bill of Rights, , Democracy, King and King, KOCO, Oklahoma Press Association, , Values