September 26, 2013

Banned Books Week offers new mindset

James Bright, Managing Editor,
The Express-Star


Every great author has met with animosity. Removing the truth from assorted veils is the job of any artist. This work is not always popular. Many times, it is chastised and viewed as offensive or pornographic. 

This week the U.S. celebrates authors such artists, like Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut and George Orwell. And so does Chickasha. 

"We have the freedom to read what we want to read," Children's Librarian at the Chickasha Public Library Lillie Huckaby said. "People don't have the right to tell other people what their kids can or cannot read." 

She said the issue of banning books stems mostly from school boards who attack controversial novels. 

"I like to read what I want to read," Huckaby said. "It's not a  person's place to tell me otherwise."

This year, Huckaby said a children's book titled "The Dirty Cowboy," has received heavy criticism. 

The story details the exploits of a cowboy who is covered in mud, and his quest to clean his body. The protagonist is illustrated naked throughout the story, but items such as strategically placed cacti, cover his genitals.

Huckaby said she finds the notion that this book is offensive to be ridiculous. 

"It's a well illustrated and cute story about a cowboy and his journey to get clean," she said. 

Although not as severe with children's novels, Huckaby said banning books can have far reaching consequences, resulting in negative societal outcomes. 

"Books, like those Twain wrote, are a part of our culture," she said. "It shows teenagers where we came from. Books like The Hunger Games show the dangers of where we could go. It's better that kids read these stories instead of having to live them."

Banned Books Week will continue through Saturday and features a display at the library with books that have been deemed controversial.