Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Bunnies! Bunnies! It must be bunnies!*

This via Leila over at Bookshelves of Doom: a mother in Oregon is challenging a high school that keeps The Book of Bunny Suicides on their shelves. The mother has checked the book out of the school, is refusing to return it, and threatening to burn it.

Says Taffy Anderson, the mother: “It is a comic book, but that’s not funny. Not at all,” Anderson said. “I don’t care if your kid is 16, 17, 18. It’s wrong.” (Emphasis mine.)

This is what I ultimately find disturbing about any attempt to ban books: an overdeveloped need to protect everyone else. She's not protecting her kid; she's protecting your kid. Isn't that kind? I respect and defend a parent's right to say to their own offspring, "No, Johnny, I don't want you reading that." But when that parent decides that nobody's child should read that... that's where there's a problem.

I'm reminded of an incident three years ago where the head of a private school in Texas had the guts to return a three million dollar donation when the previously announced gift suddenly came with strings attached: the donor wanted Anne Proulx's "Brokeback Mountain" removed from the library. The YA community rallied and many authors donated signed copies of their books to the school as a show of support. That incident started ASIF (Authors Support Intellectual Freedom), an online community of primarily YA authors speaking out against censorship.

The upside to the Bunny Suicides saga? (Because, you know, there's always an upside.) The school has been inundated with offers to replace the book (as well as other challenged books). Oddly enough, I really hope her 13-year-old son who attends that school is 100% behind his mom's decision to challenge the book. If not, he could be in for some major hazing. (Although the fact that HE'S the one who checked it out of the library in the first place suggests to me he might not be on board with Mom's crusade.)

*=Bonus points if you sang along with the title of the post.


Alice said...

I sang, I sang! I love me a Buffy reference.

(And I think Bunny Suicides is funny. Does that make me bad? Because now I'm feeling a little guilty.)

Christy Raedeke said...

Oy. Why do all the crazies have to come from Oregon?

Stacy DeKeyser said...

So I suppose Taffy won't like hearing that my 16-year-old son and I discovered these books together in the bookstore and busted our guts laughing?

Barbara Shoup said...

Bunny Suicides. How hilarious. Can't wait to read it.