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Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Getting My Book Taken Away

I was a really good student in 5th grade-smart, but also into sports. I sat in Mr. Perguson's second row. He was the overweight teacher that turned away from the class and sneezed towards the chalkboard to cover up his flatulance.  I never got in trouble until one day during silent reading.  This is the book I was reading:
See them walking on the beach in nightgowns? Does this look risque to you? It sure did to Mr Perguson.  He took my book away and asked me where I have gotten it.
"My mother," I replied.
He harrumphed and told me he'd be keeping it for a while and that he would be calling my mother after school.
As the daughter of a daughter of a high school principle I knew that if I got in trouble at school, I would be in trouble at home. My parents supported our teachers as much as they could. So I sweated it a little, but mainly hoped that my mom would just think it was funny. After all, this was Katherine Paterson, the author of Bridge of Terabithia and The Trumpeter of Krakow. And this one was the Newberry Medal winner in 1981. 

I went home and told me mom what had happened. Better she heard it from me first, right? She did laugh, just like I was hoping. Later that evening she talked to Mr. Perguson on the phone, but she did not share the conversation with me.
The next morning before class started he came to my desk and returned my book saying he had read it the previous night and it was okay for me to read.
No kidding, I thought, my mom is the one who gave it to me.
He didn't question my reading for the rest of the year. The flatulence I'm afraid though, didn't go away. If only I'd been a few rows further back . . .

Have you ever had a book taken away? What book and why?



    So. I'm sitting in Algebra 2 Honors (9th grade) (strike one). With the most conservative teacher you will ever meet (strike two). I have a book I grabbed from the adult fantasy section and had just started. She's taking attendance and I'm reading--which, ya know, would not be a problem in any class but this teacher's. She takes away my book. I pout, but don't think much of it since I have another in my bag to get me through the rest of the classes.

    That afternoon, after swim practice, the phone rings, and that teacher asks to speak to my mom. They talk. Mom sits me down and asks if I was aware of the content of the book. Me: "I was on page 10!!!"

    ...apparently it was Anne Bishop's DAUGHTER OF THE BLOOD, an extremely risque novel (strike 3!).

    Funny part? My mom grabbed it, brought it home, and left it lying around. Of course I read it. And I don't think she cared.

    (Honestly, when I was like 8, my parents pointed me toward a memoir of a woman pilot that had a sex scene in the second chapter! Talk about scarred for life!)

    I think I've turned out well, even with my questionable reading choices early on ;)

  2. I have never gotten a book taken away, though I had a disgruntled teacher in junior get mad at me when I was giving him an honest-to-goodness smile. "What's that smirk crawling up your face?" he asked, sneering at me. Ew.

  3. This is super strange....why would he take it away? That's not a risque cover at all!

    I've never had a book taken away. I went to a "hippie school" (that's what my friends call it) during my elementary years, where they weren't particularly stringent in terms of what we read. My parents were the same way....they never tried to censor me. They trusted me to make decisions about what I wanted to read. If I was uncomfortable with something, I'd put the book down.

  4. I've never had a book taken away for a risque cover, but I have just for reading when I wasn't supposed to. (Under my desk, in class). I do censor movies and books for my kids (12 and under) but see myself getting much more liberal with my oldest child. I seriously cringe more and more, though, with people outside the realm of parents that try to censor books. It's a fine line...

  5. Taryn-LOL what a great story. I LOVE that your mom still left it out for you to read if you wanted to.

    Kate-I agree. Glad your teachers/parents trusted you to censor yourself

    Ilima-Very fine line! I don't like the school censoring my kids at all (hence those homeschooling thoughts that keep coming). I'm the parent, I know what is best for my child.
    My oldest is 8, but reading 3 grade levels ahead. I haven't told him he couldn't read anything yet. (At school they can't read above their STAR test level) I want to think I'm going to be the parent that trusts my kid with books like my parents did for me.

  6. I never got a book taken away, but I did get in trouble for reading a book upside down in 4th grade during silent reading time. I think I was reading The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. That or Sideways Stories from Wayside School.

    Jennie's mom used to take her books and use a sharpie to cross out swear words (it was mostly OSC books like Ender's Game). Jennie and I both agreed that that was obnoxious and only makes you focus on the word more because you can totally still read it through the sharpie.

  7. Amanda-I got caught a few times with that too. It took me a while to perfect my reading stealth. And agreed with the sharpies-it just highlights the bad stuff.

  8. I wish I had gotten a book taken away. That's so Anne of Green Gables! And Jacob Have I Loved is one of my favorites!

  9. How funny. Well, to say the least, he was concerned for your young mind. But that cover does not look risque at all... altho she does have a little shoulder showing. lol