Mead and Cast on the Banned Books List

Richelle Mead had some interesting news.  The Texas ACLU just released their Free People Read Freely 2009 Report and guess what was in their report:

The most challenged author was P.C. Cast. In Stephenville ISD, all six books in her House of Night series were banned at Henderson Jr. High. The second most challenged (and banned) author this year was Richelle Mead; all five books in her Vampire Academy series were banned at the same school.  This situation indicates that a squeaky wheel or two can deny a whole school access to a particular book or series. “It seems that an individual or group of people went on a crusade…” (See p. 11), thereby imposing the tyranny of a vocal minority.

Relatively small Stephenville ISD not only had the most challenges this year but imposed preemptive bans on books not yet written. From our report: “The district banned the two teen vampire series from the library, even though neither series has been completed…Stephenville ISD actually banned books that have not yet been published and perhaps even books that have yet to be written.” (See p. 11)

That’s right.  The House of Night series was challenged and the Vampire Academy series was actually banned, but only by one school.  Guess what the reason is…Sexual Content or Nudity.

I can see the reasoning for the House of Night series.  There was this one scene in Marked between two characters that I thought was kind of wierd to have in a YA novel, but they were supporting characters. Plus, the reaction of the main character was appropriate for the age.  Granted, I’ve only read the first two novels so maybe there is more in subsequential novels, but I can’t see why one small scene should matter.  Is there more in later novels that gives the school more reason to ban this novel?

As for the Vampire Academy series, I don’t get it.  Yes there are make-out sessions, but you’re not going to tell me kids aren’t doing this already.  It’s the first stage of true experimentation and I’m not naive enough to think that my child won’t have tried it already before reading any novels.  Hell, the idea of a first kiss is shown by the parents in my opinion.  If mommy and daddy can do it, why can’t I?  So I don’t accept that as a reason to ban a book. However, I’m not forgetting that there is a sex scene in the series, but it doesn’t happen until Shadow Kissed, and quite honestly, I don’t think it’s that big of a scene either.  Yes, the ramifications of the action are quite important to the plot, and while Mead could have alluded to it rather than show it, I don’t think giving the couple this one chance to be close was wrong either.  Plus, it was only one scene in five novels.

So what do you guys think:  Do you agree with these books being banned?  Are there any other ones that could follow these two onto the banned books list?  Is a novel involving vampires, werewolves or other forms a magic reason enough to be banned?

About Jackie 3273 Articles
I am a 30-something SAHM with two adorable boys and a supportive husband who is very tolerant of my reading addiction. I love to read and easily go through about a dozen books a month – well I did before I had kids. Now, not so much. After my first son was born, I began to take my hobby of reviewing a little more serious and started Literary Escapism to help with my sanity. I love to discuss the fabulous novels I’ve read and meeting all the wonderful people in the book blogging community has been amazing.

10 Comments

  1. I don’t think any book should be banned, but these two in particular, I really don’t see it. I started reading about ripping bodices before I was 12! I think if anything, reading something that excites my imagination in anyway is great. Even in my decrepitude, I’ve read both of these series and honestly don’t see a thing wrong with them. Can I think of any books that should be banned? Not really, though I have read a couple that should have come with warning labels, lol, not all are what the blurb leads the reader to believe it is.

    Dottie :)

  2. Quite honestly banning of books is prime example of schools broadcasting that the education that they are providing to students is inadequate. If the education system as a whole cannot teach our children that this is fiction and not truth, then maybe the system should be re-evaluated. It is also a sad statement on our parenting skills.

    That being said, I am a 32 year old mother that has read all of these books. I would definitely prefer that the people reading these books were at least of high school age and older.

    If your kids are interested in reading these books, preview them for your kids. Read them first, so you know what to expect. Prepare yourself and your “child” for what they are going to read. Discuss with them what they are reading. BE A PARENT. You can’t wiggle your way out of discussions that will inevitably happen, just by banning books. It is parental fear of these discussions that makes kids act out, and do the things that you don’t want them to do or to know about.

  3. I totally agree with you on Mead’s books. I am a 32 year old mother of 3 (13, 10, 3) and I would not have no problem letting my 13 year old read these books. My ten year old would be a different story. They have seen alot worse on tv and as you said I have only read one scene in these books that would even warrant this reaction. I also feel if the kids hear about these books being banned it is just going to make them want to read them more. I have not read Cast’s books yet so I can’t really comment on them.

    Heather I also agree with you that it is the parents responsibility to PARENT their children. I feel that is a big problem with our society today!!

  4. I’m right there with both of you, although I will say that I have different feelings on reading books before my child does. I’m definitely turning Ian into a bookworm, but I highly doubt I’ll read everything he wants to read before he does. He’s going to be reading what he wants to read regardless of what I do, so I would rather help cultivate his reading tastes than put any perimeters on them. If I do question anything, I’ll go take a look at the book online via the author’s website. Between the author’s blog, any excerpts and their book listing, I should be able to figure out if I will want Ian reading this.

  5. Not banned, but since I can’t read every book in advance I do rely on reviewers to warn if there is something like the blowjob scene in Marked. Particularly if it is a book that will appeal to middle school readers which this series does.

  6. Argh, I hate censorship!

    I can’t stop parents from being stupid or lazy or controlling, but NOBODY has the right to tell my kids what to read!

    Oh, and btw, they’re all grown now, kicking academic butt in college and probably not worshiping Satan.

    Jackie, my mom had a German saying: “Give them dessert so they won’t want beer.” Continue introducing Ian to quality books and movies, and he’ll learn to be selective himself.

    Also, teach him to recognize real from fantasy. Don’t take him to meet Clifford the Big Red Dog and try to convince him that that’s really a dog standing there. He’ll either believe you, and that’s not good. Or he’ll think you’re lying and he won’t believe you when you tell him something important.

    The sad thing is, quite a few girls in high school know what a blow job is; they don’t need a tutorial. What they need is a reason not to do that kind of thing before they’re ready.

  7. Oh, and a p.s., Jackie – Once again, you’re on top of the news and providing a forum for discussion.

    You’re one of my top five blogs. : )

  8. Another censorship hater.
    As an 18 year old girl, finished high school in June, I know that most teenagers would have to be deaf and blind not to be exposed to talk about sex, drugs, etc in school.
    I thought it was refreshing in Marked to see a book that was realistic about this.

    I’m not saying there should be more, by any means, just that it is nice to have books that don’t dance around the subject, or pretend that no one is interested in sex, making out, touching, etc until they’re safely out of high school.

  9. These book are very good in my opion. Yes they have those things but its only showing the true meaning of what is going on. The book has a meaning and the meaning is not about sex or sexual activity. Really people need to see what their doing when thier hiding things from thier kids. One of my good frineds use to hide books under her bed because her mother did not approve of the book. I dont think its right that she hid that from her mom. But look what you have kids doing, hiding things because your not letting them read something they want.

  10. Im in 8th grade and doing a research project on banned books.
    If I were a parent letting my children read these book I would want them to be in at least highschool.(I go to a highschool that just has 8th and 7th in there.. O_O) I must admit, my friends and i are probably way over our Heads as far as knowlage about sex, alcohol drugs are and experience. But most of my class mates arnt as exposed as I am and I would think it would make most of them feel rather awkward to read the blow job scene between Aphrodite and Eric. Also the few sex scenes and descriptions on foreplay. though once you get to highschool you should have learned about this or..need to. I think it was also rather refreshing to see an author no trying to dodge the awkward topics and just use ‘implied death, sex, etc’So anyway for the conclusion of my paper im saying that yes, it should be banned in middle school. but i think in highschool it should not be.

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