This week (September 25th — October 2nd) is Banned Books Week. Learn all about it HERE.
In honor of BBW here’s a fun meme (started by the amazingly talented author Jo Knowles):
1. Go find your favorite banned book.
2. Take a picture of yourself with said book.
3. Give that book some love by explaining why you think it is an important book.
4. Post it to your blog.
5. Spread the word!
Here I am holding a copy of my favorite banned book: Whale Talk. This is the copy I had autographed after hearing Chris Crutcher speak. It is one of my most prized posessions because of the memory I have of meeting him.
I read Whale Talk for the first time while I was in college. I picked it up because, as a high school student, I had been profoundly affected by another Chris Crutcher novel–Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes. Just thinking about either book elicits a visceral reaction in me. My eyes tear up and I feel both angry and joyful. I want to scream at the injustices visited upon the characters in each story while simultaneously cheering them on, willing them to keep up the fight in order to attain their personal victories.
I cannot imagine a world (or a library) where Chris Crutcher’s novels are absent (i.e. banned). Reading about teens in challenging, sometimes horrifying situations and seeing them rise above those hardships with strength and dignity is empowering to all teenagers (and adults) regardless of their own circumstances.
So, what is it about Whale Talk that made me choose it above all the other banned books I have read and loved?
The answer is: T.J. (The Tao) Jones. T.J. is fearless. Whenever I feel weak, scared, ineffectual or plain old put-upon I think of T.J. His strength and courage continues to impress and inspire me.
What is your favorite banned book?
~ Tricia is CPL’s teen services librarian. She has put her towering “to-be-read” pile on hold to revisit T.J. and the rest of the Cutter All Night Mermen in honor of Banned Books Week.