Questions about ‘The Giver’ in the classroom

I read my children’s assigned books. It is the only way that I can check their reports on the books. It is also the only way that I can be certain they think about and discuss the themes in their books. I suspect that school has neither the time nor the ability to do this. They check reports for accuracy about book content and proper grammar. I want my children to have less clinical analysis of books and more appreciation of ideas that are intended to make them think. So, we read the books and we talk about them.

I seriously need someone in my children’s school system to explain the logic in banning ‘The Graveyard Book’ while ‘The Giver’ is assigned reading. Let me be clearer. Neither book should be banned. I deliberately did not prepare SuperTween for the scene that I suspect caused The Graveyard Book to be banned. It is a scene that pulls you deep into the book. I won’t prepare her for the scene in The Giver that I found far more unsettling. Because of that scene, someone else is going to have to take her to see the movie. I won’t prepare her, but I will be extremely disappointed if she didn’t see it coming. It is clear from the first chapter what is happening in that community. That doesn’t change the fact that I cannot watch that scene on a movie screen.

What is the criteria for a book becoming unacceptable by a school? It clearly isn’t dystopian themes. Maybe they act as ominous warnings against change. Maybe they serve to promote the author’s philosophical and political ideology. Maybe we are a dark and broody species who only tell campfire horror stories. Does the clinical representation of death and violence pass muster while poetic representation of it does not? Do the characters have to be chemically castrated to avoid human sexuality? That seems more unhealthy than honest and real representations of a normal part of our lives.

Is the decision for which books are banned based solely on whatever a select few parents complain about?

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