September 26, 2012
Nearly 23 years ago, I sat in Mrs. Brinkman’s fourth grade classroom listening attentively to my first truly gripping mystery, The View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts. The tale was suspenseful, and I couldn’t wait to hear the end. The story follows how Rob, our young hero-protagonist, witnesses a murder from his perch in the neighbor’s cherry tree. No one believes him, not friends and not his family. He has to solve the crime alone, and for a young boy, it’s a tall order. All these years later, I am still a die-hard mystery fan thanks to that introduction.
It was challenged shortly after publication for its light use of the term "S.O.B" and the fear that 12-year-olds would treat the elderly as the old woman in the book was treated. It remains the 97th most challenged book in the last decade according to the American Library Association (ALA). It’s one of many, and if you’re curious, you an almost certainly find a surprise of your own by consulting the list online.
Banned Book Week is sponsored by the ALA, the American Booksellers Association, and runs from September 30th through October 6th. The week is designed to celebrate our first amendment right to free speech, which includes the right to read and write books that are considered unorthodox or controversial. ALA defines a banned book as one that has actually been removed from a library or school system, and a challenged book is the attempt to ban such material.
We have a table of titles set aside for the week, and if you too wish to celebrate your freedom to read, please stop by and pick up one of your favorites. I know I’ll be spending my Sunday rereading from an imagined perch in cherry tree.
Where did your favorite take you?