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1/25/2018 7:38:29 AM
Posted: 7/5/2001 3:57:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 7/5/2001 3:58:15 PM EST by ArmdLbrl]
Suicide Book Challenged in Schools By COLLEEN SLEVIN .c The Associated Press DENVER (AP) - [b]In a world where twins are illegal, a baby twin boy is ``released'' from life with a fatal injection. A girl, overcome with painful memories in a utopian society in which strong feelings are frowned upon, administers the fatal needle herself.[/b] The topics in Lois Lowry's ``The Giver'' have created controversy in libraries and classrooms across the country since it was first published in 1993. Parent opposition to the book's treatment of suicide and euthanasia helped it reach No. 11 on the American Library Association's list of most challenged books of the 1990s. The Newberry Medal winner was No. 10 on the last year's list, which was headed by ``Harry Potter.'' Lowry's book has been challenged in schools in at least five states since 1999, sometimes more than once. [b]Supporters say the story of a 12-year-old boy named Jonas, who decides to escape after being allowed to see the price people pay for living in a world without war or pain, spurs students to think about important social issues and form their own opinions.[/b] But opponents criticize the book's failure to clearly explain that suicide is not a solution to life's problems. This spring a suburban Denver school board decided to keep the book in an elementary school library and allow teachers to read it in class. In South Carolina, the Pickens County school board voted to ban the novel in elementary classrooms after a parent complained that its references to death were inappropriate for young children. The board allowed it be used in higher grades and remain in school libraries. In 1999, the board in Union County, Fla., overturned the superintendent's decision to pull ``The Giver'' from middle schools after hearing from students and parents who supported the book. The book has also been challenged in Texas and Ohio in the last two years, said Beverley Becker, assistant director of the library association's Office of Intellectual Freedom. Most challenged books are retained and the group does not track how often books are banned, Becker said. It monitors challenged books through tips from the public and newspaper reports. In the Denver-area case, Mark S. Hanson argued the book, read aloud in his 11-year-old daughter's class, was dangerous because of its portrayal of suicide, euthanasia and infanticide in a neutral to positive light. He thought that was especially bad in a state with the nation's fifth-highest suicide rate and in the same school district as Columbine High School. Although parents are required to be notified when controversial materials are used in classrooms, Hanson said he was not notified about ``The Giver'' because it was approved in 1994. ``A lot has changed in our community and some things should be re-evaluated,'' Hanson said.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 3:59:36 PM EST
He read the book after his daughter told him about the chapter in which the twin boy is killed. He said his daughter was upset, but he declined to discuss details. [b]In the book, Jonas is upset when he discovers infanticide. But Hanson does not think other examples in the book are as clear cut, including the ending when Jonas saves a baby and rides off into a snowstorm without warm clothes. South Carolina school librarian Pat Scales agreed the ending is ambiguous, but she thinks the book helps students raise questions about the costs of a controlled life and better appreciate their democratic society.[/b] Scales said the book gives students a way to talk about difficult topics already openly discussed in the media. She believes the book is best suited for middle school students, but admitted not every child will be ready for its topics at the same time. ``If we waited for every kid to be ready, we'd be the same kind of world Jonas is in,'' said Scales, the library director at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities in Greenville, S.C. Groups such as the National Parent-Teacher Association and the National Association of Elementary School Principals do not take positions on such issues. However Focus on the Family, a Colorado Springs-based Christian ministry, is concerned that parents are not being allowed to decide which books are appropriate for their children. Dick Carpenter, the group's education policy analyst, said the book's ambiguity about violence is wrong, especially at a time when some people are pushing for character education in schools. Mary Brice, the former children's book buyer for the Tattered Cover Book Store in Denver, said many young adult books deal with weighty topics, something their readers crave. For example, she said, there has been a surge in Holocaust books for teen-agers, both fiction and nonfiction, in the last 10 years. The bookstore even sells picture books for younger children on topics ranging from a homeless family that lives in an airport to the Los Angeles riots. ``It's a time when their minds are very anxious to be challenged to grow,'' she said. AP-NY-07-05-01 0747EDT Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. All active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 4:35:14 PM EST
Yes. Postmodern setting, deals with the right issue(s) for that sort of future in the wrong way. For a better subjectively-negative-utopia read, read Orwell's 1984, Huxley's Brave New World, and Bradbury's Farenheit 451. Is the book appropriate for grade school kids? Up to parents, right? Not in the government schools. Can you say failed social experiment? Hitler said that (paraphrasing) he didn't care if those around would not join him, their children already belonged to him. Sorry if I'm ranting here, but this isn't the first very serious issue to be covered in school, outside of the "parental judgement and discretion zone." Juggernaut
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 4:41:45 PM EST
I read it last year. Filed it under 'so what', and moved on to Unintended Consequences.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 5:37:10 PM EST
So, if its "been there done that" what is all the controversy about?
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 6:30:12 PM EST
Yes, I've read it. It was required reading in school. (Can u believe that?, Public school no less) Very good book about a controlled society. Expresses good points and bad points.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 6:34:32 PM EST
Euthanasia in a Neutral to positive light???? I read it in junior high - we were encouraged to buy books each month and this was one of them. Euthanasia was just part of this controlled society that is portrayed in a rather NEGATIVE light - that of people too afraid to face their emotions. Kinda like democrats. Nice book.
Link Posted: 7/5/2001 6:43:32 PM EST
I read that book when I was in middle school, I thought it was pretty good. It makes you think about how messed up a "perfect" society really is. I think that it is a great book for middle school kids to read(think I was14)beacuse it makes them think about subjects that necessarily aren't talked about in everyday classroom. It really shows what people will do to live in a perfect world.
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