Banned, Censored, Challenged: The Kite Runner

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini was on the NYT bestseller list for a while. It has also been made into a film, which is banned in Afghanistan. Ironically, the country that began the war against the Taliban has some citizens who want to follow their lead. The novel also managed to make the ALA's top ten list for banned books in 2008.

The Kite Runner involves a violent act of sodomy, an act which brings up issues of cowardice and loyalty, setting up the novel's themes of oppression and perversion.

The Okaloosa County School Board in Florida received a request from a parent to remove the book. (Story here). Parents apparently do have the right to request a substitute book (an excellent policy, I think) but the parent doesn't feel that's enough- they don't want any high schooler in the district reading it.

Have you ever read a series of books that marked a period in your life? This book was part of such a pile.
Thoreau said: "How many a man has dated a new era in his life from the reading of a book!"
I must write the reader's favorite cliche: I just couldn't put it down.

When I think of this novel, I remember being bundled up in bed with a hot water bottle and a mug of tea. At the time, I didn't have any heat in my house and it was freezing. What I did have was a pile of library books.

The Kite Runner does exactly what a good novel should do: disturbs, enlightens, grabs the emotions. I cried, I got angry, I was disgusted.

A student from the school said it best:
“This is like the real word. This is what goes on in other countries and it really opens your eyes with the war.”

05/03/2010
In fact, the book is only read at the Senior level and in the 10th Grade AP classes- this parent's son was in the 9th grade.

The book was not "forced" on her child at all--in fact most public schools will allow parents (or students) to choose another book.

The parent found out that older kids are allowed to read the book because the school let parents know that two of the curriculum's books (the other was To Kill A Mockingbird) contained mature language and themes and that if parents objected they were allowed to substitute another book.

The school didn't force anything on this kid. They gave this parent the oppurtunity to exercise authority over her own child. Her position is that no high schooler should read it- but that's not her call to make.

Comments

Guest said…
Kite Runner banned?! Where is this world coming to? Banning any kind of books is ridiculous and may have dangerous consequences in the long run.
Glynis said…
Oh my, oh my the mind of these parents!
Bookpusher said…
Another great post, one of my pet irritations is parents who want to force their viewpoint on everyone else, and deny all the kids the privilege of reading a particular book.
I have nominated you for another award, this is definately a kreative blog and I think a really important blog.
Miss_Nobody said…
The Kite runner was absolutely wondeful,but I can't believe these people!The Kite Runner twanged at my heartstrings like no book ever had!
Guest said…
Removing a book from a REQUIRED reading list for young people is not the equivalent of banning a book. I agree with the parent wholeheartedly. It has nothing to do with protecting our children from the real world. It's about guarding our children's minds and hearts from excessive defilement. My daughter's required reading has no balance whatsoever. It is replete with insanity, vulgarity and lewd acts. There are books out there that have powerful, unforgettable messages. If parents don't stand up for their kids on these matters who will? You should be applauding this woman, not making her a laughing stock. Shame on you and everyone else who has taken part in mocking her. Vileness exhists in the world. It's nothing new, but we don't have to go bed with it and stand by and watch as the world forces it on our kids.
sharazad said…
This post clearly says that in Okaloosa county Florida, the parent is allowed to substitute another book.

In fact, the book is only read at the Senior level and in the 10th Grade AP classes- this parent's son was in the 9th grade. The book was not forced on her child at all.

The parent found out that older kids are allowed to read the book because the school let parents know that two of the curriculum's books (the other was To Kill A Mockingbird) contained mature language and themes and that if parents objected they were allowed to substitute another book.

Instead of waiting until her kid became a senior or reached advanced placement and then just requesting another book, this parent submitted a request for removal saying that she wants the book removed from *any* curriculum, *any* required reading list and *any* recommended reading list in the whole district.

I think it's also relevant to point out that none of the other kids have switched the book, according to their teacher.

A parent certainly has the right to say what is "appropriate" or "vile" for their own child, to "stand-up" for their child. They don't have the right to say what is appropriate for others.


The parent's request is here:
http://video.onset.freedom.com/nwfdn/kacsbv-15bookchallenge.pdf

Another source is here:
http://www.nwfdailynews.com/news/book-12772-school-stovall.html