Are There Any Banned Books in New York? Plus One That Should Be
Despite the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution -- which most people agree is a solid idea -- there are books that are "challenged" in America every year for one reason or another.
Banning books is never a good idea. When ideas are suppressed, you're creeping toward totalitarianism. That's not what America is about. This is a country that embraces discussion from not only both sides of the aisle, but from the rafters and basement as well.
Thankfully, no books are outright "banned" in New York State. So we have that going for us.
Certainly, there are books that are "challenged" by censorship groups every year. Most (but not all) tend to deal with racist or LGBTQ themes.
Every library in New York has a "collection development policy" that decides what books to put on the shelves, which is why the selection differs from town to town, county to county. But no books are "banned" in the traditional sense.
Brooklyn Public Library in NYC actually has an anti-censorship program called "Books Unbanned" where they will get a challenged book to you if you're having a hard time finding it locally for censorship reasons.
But there's one book that I'd like to see banned, for personal reasons...
SCARY STORIES TO TELL IN THE DARK
This book used to scare the ever-living piss out of me as a kid. I don't know what kind of sadomasochists were running the library program at my school growing up, but they actually made us listen to the audio recording, which was even WORSE!
The story I remember most vividly was "The Girl with the Green Ribbon." In my head it was narrated by Vincent Price, but it was actually a guy named George S. Irving, who was just as scary.
When the narrator says "Jenny's head fell off," I'm pretty sure I cried. Not only in school, but 3 minutes ago when I refreshed my memory with this YouTube clip:
So yeah, I don't think I'd shed any tears if Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark were banned. Yikes.