Literary Mama writing about the many faces of motherhood
For Your Journal: Writing Prompt

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Do you keep a journal - or wish you could get one started? Literary Mama wants to help.

Three times a month, I'll post a writing prompt. Open a notebook and write for 10 minutes. Don't worry about grammar or punctuation - just write. Then let the writing simmer and your mind wander for awhile.

And who knows? Maybe you'll discover a character for your next short story or a theme for a narrative essay. Or maybe you'll use the idea to create a special holiday card or photo album for someone in your family. However you decide to use your journal entry, I know you'll enjoy re-reading it months--and years--down the road.
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Consider this information from the American Library Association about banned and challenged books:

A challenge is an attempt to remove or restrict materials, based upon the objections of a person or group. A banning is the removal of those materials. Challenges do not simply involve a person expressing a point of view; rather, they are an attempt to remove material from the curriculum or library, thereby restricting the access of others ... Books usually are challenged with the best intentions--to protect others, frequently children, from difficult ideas and information ... Often challenges are motivated by a desire to protect children from "inappropriate" sexual content or "offensive" language. The following were the top three reasons cited for challenging materials as reported to the Office of Intellectual Freedom (the organization that receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books):

1. the material was considered to be "sexually explicit"
2. the material contained "offensive language"
3. the materials was "unsuited to any age group"

Although this is a commendable motivation, Free Access to Libraries for Minors, an interpretation of the Library Bill of Rights(ALA's basic policy concerning access to information) states that, "Librarians and governing bodies should maintain that parents--and only parents--have the right and the responsibility to restrict the access of their children--and only their children--to library resources." Censorship by librarians of constitutionally protected speech, whether for protection or for any other reason, violates the First Amendment.

According to the Office for Intellectual Freedom, at least 46 of the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century have been the target of ban attempts. The top five on the list? The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald,The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger, The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck, To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee, and The Color Purple, by Alice Walker.

Journal Entry: How many books on this list--the Top Ten Challenged Books by Year (2001-2011) --have you read? How many have your children read? Describe the discussions you and your children have had about the books and the controversies that surround them.

Interested in getting involved with Banned Books Week? Read more details here.


Karna ConverseĀ is a freelance writer who’s written everything from technical documentation and price proposals to newsletter articles, devotionals, personal profiles and essays. Her essays have been published in a variety of regional and national publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, Notre Dame Magazine, the Cup of Comfort and Chicken Soup anthologies, Our Iowa, and on Iowa Public Radio. She’s serving as Literary Mama‘s Editor-in-Chief from her home in Storm Lake, Iowa. She and her husband are parents to three young adults.

 


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