Today’s the last day of banned books week, however our freedom to read should be celebrated all year. I was going to end the week with my favorite series and well-known for being challenged, of course I’m referring to the Harry Potter series. Instead, I decided to use a past post about Harry Potter.
Any student found in possession of the magazine ,The Quibbler, will be expelled.
For some reason, every time Hermione caught sight of one of these signs she beamed with pleasure.
‘What exactly are you so happy about?’ Harry asked her.
‘Oh, Harry don’t you see?’ Hermione breathed. ‘If she could have done one thing to make absolutely sure that every single person in this school will read your interview, it was banning it!’
- J.K. Rowling (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, page 512)
I don’t think this conversation spoils the book if you haven’t read it yet. The basic idea is that the magazine, The Quibbler, provided information that the ministry didn’t want students to know about. Of course, Hermione catches this action right away and understands that students will now learn the truth. By the end of the day, every student read The Quibbler.
What happens when you ban or forbid something? Of course, our curiosity wins and we desire to seek what others don’t want us to learn or comprehend. Individuals crave to know what information and context is so terrible and extreme that some want to influence others from not reading it. So don’t be afraid to read the book, listen to the song, or watch the movie that others find ‘questionable’ or ‘inappropriate’. My personal philosophy is that any book worth banning is a book worth reading.
I subscribe to word a day from wordsmith and a week was dedicated to words associated with censorship of books. In honor of Banned Books Week, I thought it would fun to highlight words you may not be familiar with that are associated with censorship.
Overzealous censorship of material considered obscene
The word was created after Anthony Comstock (1844-1915), founder of the New York Society for the Suppression of Vice. He crusaded against anything he considered immoral.
1. Approval or authority; imprint.
2. A license to print or publish, especially one issued by a censor of the Roman Catholic Church.
To remove or change parts (of a book, play, movie, etc.) considered objectionable.
After Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), a British doctor, who edited the Family Shakespeare, an expurgated edition of William Shakespeare’s works. Bowdler believed the original wasn’t suitable for the delicate sensibilities of women and children.
Nihil obstat (noun):
1. Official approval.
2. In the Roman Catholic Church, a statement by a church censor that a book is not offensive to the Church.
1. To mutilate a book by clipping pictures out of it.
2. To illustrate a book by adding pictures cut from other books.
An underground publishing system used to print and circulate banned literature clandestinely.
The Story of the Treasure Seekers
by Edith Nesbit
Ages 9+, 122 pages
The Story of the Treasure Seekers was first published in 1899, so not many people may be familiar with this title. This is the first book in a series. Her writings had an influence on other children authors, such as C.S. Lewis and J.K. Rowling. (C.S. Lewis mentioned the children in the Chronicles of Naria.)
The book is about the Bastable children who lost their mother and attempt to restore their family fortunes. There are six siblings, but the book doesn’t state right from the beginning who’s telling the story. Although, if you pay attention and you’ll notice who it is. The book opens: This is the story of the different ways we looked for treasure, and I think when you have read it you will see that we were not lazy about the looking. Indeed, the children were not lazy at all, since they each provided input about ways to seek treasure. Of course being children there are bound to be mistakes and surprises. The Bastable children dug for treasure, published in a newspaper, started a business, and kidnapped. It was a peak inside the British lifestyle for children. The writing is clever and intelligent.
There are some things I must tell before I begin to tell about the treasure-seeking, because I have read books myself, and I know how beastly it is when a story begins, “Alas!” said Hildegarde with a deep sigh, “we must look our last on this ancestral home” – and then some one else says something – and you don’t know for pages and pages where the home is, or who Hildegarde is, or anything about it. Our ancestral home is in the Lewishawm Road. It is semi-detached and has a garden, not a large one. We are the Bastables. There are six of us besides Father.
- Edith Nesbit (The Story of the Treasure Seekers)